Following a long spring and summer when he accumulated 149 total innings, lefthander Carlos Rodon had a reduced workload this fall, but he was back on the mound for North Carolina State's Fall World Series finale on Tuesday.
Rodon sat 91-94 mph with above-average sink and movement to both sides of the plate through his four innings. His primary secondary offering was his plus-plus high-80s slider with late movement and 3-to-7 tilt at its best, and he mixed in some low-80s changeups with good tumble. Rodon has a quick arm and usually throws from a three-quarters arm slot, though he raised his arm slot to high three-quarters to vary the shape on some his offspeed offerings. The lefthander also threw a few high-70s curveballs.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Rodon has tremendous strength throughout his extra-large frame and powerful build. One scout noted that Rodon's delivery looked better than it did earlier this year. His delivery seemed to have more flexibility and athleticism, as well as less effort. Rodon showed a higher leg kick than last summer. There was less rigidity to his landing and stiffness to his front leg during his release and follow-through. While he still has a head whack, it is not as pronounced.
Rodon led NCAA pitchers in strikeouts (184, 37 ahead of his closest competition) and strikeouts per nine (12.5) last season. His strikeout total puts in him elite company. Since 2000, just six college pitchers have surpassed 184 strikeouts. Four of the six were top-three overall picks in the draft, and the other two are Jered Weaver, who received the highest signing bonus in the 2004 draft ($4 million); and Tim Lincecum, who was BA's No. 2 prospect for the 2006 draft.
|COLLEGE PITCHERS, MOST STRIKEOUTS IN A SEASON SINCE 2000|
|1||Jered Weaver, Long Beach State||2004||213||12|
|2||Trevor Bauer, UCLA||2011||203||3|
|3||Mark Prior, Southern California||2002||202||2|
|4||Tim Lincecum, Washington||2006||199||10|
|5||Stephen Strasburg, San Diego State||2009||195||1|
|6||David Price, Vanderbilt||2007||194||1|
|7||Carlos Rodon, North Carolina State||2013||184|
The other six pitchers reached those lofty strikeouts totals in their draft-eligible seasons, which Rodon is entering. Five of the six saw substantial increases in their strikeout rate from their sophomore to junior seasons. Collectively, the six averaged a 22 percent increase in their strikeouts per nine and an 8 percent increase in their innings per start, which portends well for Rodon.