2014 MLB Draft Profile: Carlos Rodon, LHP, N.C. State

USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Rodon is the best collegiate lefthander in quite a while. The Astros will likely add this ace to the top of their growing farm system, but there is time for others to shake things up.

North Carolina State lefty Carlos Rodon at this point is the clear-cut top prospect in the draft. He has a lot of what you look for in the top of the rotation stud. With a 6'3", 230 LB linebacker build, he doesn't fit the prototypical pitcher build. He has legs like tree trunks, which is a good sign for his endurance and durability.

Rodon was drafted in the 16th round of the 2011 draft by the Brewers but chose not to sign. He had some back problems in high school and was an upper 80's to low 90's guy with potential on good days and a mid 80's guy with inconsistent mechanics on the bad days. He went from a top five round guy to a 16th round flier due to the inconsistency but by that fall, he was hitting 97 as a member of the Wolfpack.

Rodon had a great freshman season and a bit of an up and down sophomore season. His velocity was down occasionally his sophomore year and was very inconsistent. It ranged from 89-97 depending on the day or even the inning.  His delivery does have some effort but his arm action works well and allows him to really get bite on his slider. It should also allow his change to improve as he throws it. He doesn't really need it at the college level. His fastball is a 70 pitch at its best and his slider is right there as well. When he is on, the fastball is usually 92-95 and can use that extra gear to hit 97 when he needs it. His command is spot on which allows it to play up even more.

The slider is 85-87 with amazing horizontal movement and some vertical movement. He can throw it as hard as 91 but it loses vertical movement and resembles a cutter at that point. His change is in the 80-84 range without any impressive movement. It's a third offering but it is a below average offering.  If he can improve it and I see no reason why he can't, he could be unhittable.

The most frequent comparison is David Price, for reasons of handedness and recent success. I could see Rodon being an impact pitcher as Price was early on and for that reason, I believe he will be the top pick in the 2014 draft unless an injury befalls the southpaw.

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