Is This Version of Carlos Rodon Sustainable?

It’s evaluation time for the White Sox, as it always seems to be this time of year. The Sox are now looking for solid performances from players who will be contributing in 2017. They’re also looking for improvement and progression from young players on the roster that represent the future of the organization.

One of those players is Carlos Rodon. August has been good to Rodon, as he’s posted a 1.47 ERA with three wins for a bad team. He’s had a positive WPA (Win Probability Added) in all five starts and a 3.71 K:BB ratio…not stellar but better than his 2.88 K:BB for the rest of the season. He’s also throwing more strikes, as 61% of his pitches have been called or swinging strikes as opposed to a dismal 47% prior to August.

There’s a couple of reasons why I’m not very optimistic about this month long performance. First, we’ve seen it before. Last year he had a great two months to end the season with a 2.48 ERA in August and followed it up with an even lower 2.03 ERA in September. He’s also still not going deep into games as a first round pick and supposed ace-level talent should. He hasn’t gotten past the seventh inning in any of his August starts. In fact, seven innings is the deepest he’s gone for the entire season. He’s only completed eight innings once, last year against the Angels on August 17th.

You want your starters to be strong down the stretch. Rodon has shown that ability by having his best months towards the end of the year in his first two seasons. But considering his performance was so abysmal (again, compared to what a first round pick should be doing) in the first three quarters of the season, his numbers simply don’t catch up. You can’t completely discount how good he looks when he’s on, but to hear fans and media talk about building around the young lefty is too much for me. Then again, the Sox don’t have any other choice.

 

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