There's very few left-handed pitchers who can touch 97 mph. Even less who can pair a big slider to go along with it. Of course, when a player can do all that, the next question that tends to come up is - well, what else you got?
Those are some of the questions surrounding Carlos Rodon, the White Sox No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 MLB draft. Can he sustain that kind of velocity and is he working on a third pitch?
Coming into Wednesday's game, Rodon had spent a couple weeks rebuilding his arm strength from a two-month layoff after the draft. In only his second start since being chosen by the White Sox in the first round, Rodon looked strong, striking out seven batters in just 3.2 innings.
"Everything was working, I struggled a little early with command trying to get my fastball downhill, but we made an adjustment."
The changeup is a pitch he's been working on quite a bit, and he's beginning to feel more comfortable with it. During the first inning, Rodon finished off a strikeout with a changeup that left the batter out on his front foot, swinging at air . He then showcased the change in the fourth when he struck out Joseph Odom with three straight off-speed pitches.
"I just tripled up on changeups, went changeup-changeup-changeup. We got (Odom) early on two changeups back-to-back, and figured we could go back to it. I've really been working on that changeup, and the changeup has been working a lot."
It's easy to nitpick on what a new pitcher should be working on, but there's also some things he's doing well and Carlos shared a few of those with me.
"Lately it's the two-seamer away, started throwing the no-seam fastball. More of almost a sinker, just spotting up on the outer half, and getting righties out with that. The fastball has been working previously; I struggled a little with it today, but was able to strikeout one guy on the fastball in and froze him."
After playing high school ball in nearby Holly Springs, North Carolina and then leading North Carolina State to some high profile college career, Rodon was drafted by the Chicago White Sox, which have three minor league teams in North Carolina alone.
"My parents were here today. They can make the drive, since their home is right down the road and it's nice to get a couple of Wolfpack fans coming down, I heard them out here tonight. It's nice staying here in my home state of North Carolina."
There was talk shortly after drafting Rodon that the White Sox could called him up to pitch in the bullpen at the end of the season. So how does the 6-foot-3 pitcher feel about possibly working out of the pen?
"Pitching is pitching. Whenever you're on the mound, you still have to compete. It doesn't really change much. You get used to it, I'm used to starting, but I have to get used to coming out of the pen if they're going to put me there."