This past weekend, Carlos Rodon showed off the stuff that had everyone tagging him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. While the big lefty had struggled with his control in previous outings, he carved up the Duke Blue Devils hitters Friday night, striking out 12 in 7.2 innings of work.
Unfortunately for Rodon and the N.C. State Wolfpack, their offense couldn’t manage a run. That’s been a theme to this season, as the Wolfpack have struggled to score runs with Rodon on the hill, hence his 2-6 record.
On Friday, Rodon’s fastball was routinely in the mid 90’s, and he worked up to 98. His slider had its trademark bite, and excellent vertical movement for a pitch that clocks in around 86-89 miles per hour. He also showed a cutter along with a much sharper changeup as well. With the 12 strikeouts, he set the all-time record for the Wolfpack.
Rodon has had some tough outings, such as a start against the Maryland Terrapins where he issued four walks and hit two batters in 4.2 innings, which helped Maryland rack up eight unearned runs. Still, he’s posted 72 strikeouts in 63 innings of work, which puts him at second in the ACC, behind Terps ace Jake Stinnett. The left-hander’s 2.29 ERA is a bit misleading, as he’s also allowed 16 earned runs.
Overall, Rodon’s numbers thus far aren’t as impressive as those from his sophomore season, where he fanned 184 hitters 19 starts and 132.1 innings. His BB/9 rate remains the same, but he’s allowed batters to reach base via the HBP at a higher rate.
At this point, Rodon is not the clear No.1 pick, what with prep products Tyler Kolek and Brady Aiken impressing. However, he demonstrated Friday that he’s still the top arm in the college ranks. Though it came in a loss, his dominant performance showed that concerns about his fastball velocity and the sharpness of his slider were premature.