He’s the second top-rated prospect to be promoted to Chicago in four days but Carlos Rodon is glad the hype surrounding him isn’t as great as Kris Bryant’s.
The two share the same agent, Scott Boras, and played together for USA Baseball in 2012.
Rodon -- who is expected to start in the bullpen after the White Sox called him up from Triple-A Charlotte on Monday -- even admitted he really likes the Bryant Red Bull commercial featuring Mike Ditka and Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. But the left-hander, the third overall pick of the 2014 draft, doesn’t mind if his debut doesn’t create the same stir as when Bryant made his first appearance for the Cubs on Friday at Wrigley Field.
“Nah, I want to go under the radar,” Rodon said.
There’s no question why Bryant, drafted in 2013, would receive more hype, having conquered the minor leagues with 43 home runs over a full season in 2014. Though the White Sox are confident Rodon can succeed in the majors, general manager Rick Hahn sees this promotion as the next step in the left-hander’s development.
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The move to the major league bullpen not only allows Rodon to ease into a big league career, it also allows the White Sox to manage his workload and keep his innings down. The White Sox took a similar approach with Mark Buehrle in 2000 and again with Chris Sale in 2010 and 2011.
“We're going to let him evolve,” Hahn said. “There's no real restrictions on him in terms of his usage out of the ‘pen at this time. It is a transition, so you're not going to see back-to-backs initially, you're not going to see an inordinate workload in a given week initially. We're going to ease him into this. Again, his development's not done. This is the next step and the most visible step and ideally, the finishing step in his development.”
Rodon is stepping into unfamiliar yet “doable” territory, he said. White Sox manager Robin Ventura suggested Rodon could be used for a lengthier appearance after he made two starts at Charlotte or he could face one left-handed hitter. But Ventura wants to ease Rodon into his new role.
“He’s a nice addition,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “There’s a couple of different ways you can use him. …
“Right now, probably looking at the middle of the game if a spot comes up that looks conducive for him to come in.”
Rodon knows he could survive in a major league bullpen with just his slider and fastball. But he doesn’t have any plans to slow down his use of the changeup, a pitch both he and the White Sox have discussed he needs to further develop in order to be successful.
Rodon threw the changeup 20 times in his final spring training start and is confident he can get outs with the pitch.
“Oh, it's still there,” Rodon said. “It's a good pitch.”
Rodon believes he belongs in the majors, “You have to be that way, have to be confident,” he said.
Perhaps that’s why he believes he can handle pitching out of the bullpen even though he’s pitched almost exclusively as a starter. Rodon appeared out the bullpen three times in 11 minor league games.
“Yeah, it's a little different,” Rodon said. “You come out, you throw your best fastballs and you don't really try to pace yourself.
“I kinda have an idea what it's like. I had one outing out of the bullpen, I forgot who was it against. It was at home. It was a different routine, but it's doable.”
Just don’t look for him to be featured in any Red Bull spots like his crosstown counterpart Bryant -- not yet, anyway.
“But that’s a cool commercial,” he said.