Game 123, White Sox at Mariners
Vidal Nuno vs. Carlos Rodon, 6:10pm
Felix wasn’t sharp, but he didn’t look obviously hurt last night. He had some issues maintaining his velo late, so we’re not out of the woods here, but Felix’s performance wasn’t clearly off. The bullpen, on the other hand…
Today, the M’s face 2014 draft pick and one of the White Sox best young players, Carlos Rodon. The lefty was a consensus 1-1 pick heading into his junior year at NC State, but some velocity fluctuation and inconsistent performances allowed him to drop a few spots to the Sox at #3 overall. He’s got above-average velocity with both his four-seam fastball and sinker, and generates loads of movement on both. His signature pitch is a sweeping slider that breaks away from his sinker by about a foot. That kind of separation is impressive, and demonstrates the kind of spin Rodon’s able to get on all of his offerings. To righties, he’ll throw a pretty good change-up that’s been better than advertised at this stage – he’s getting whiffs on nearly half of the swings on his cambio.
As promising as he is, though, Rodon’s not a finished product. Walks troubled him occasionally in college and the minors, and he’s walked over 12% of the big league batters he’s faced. Worse, he’s showing extreme platoon splits in the early going. Lefties have struggled, particularly against Rodon’s fastball, which is released from way over towards 1st base. But that fastball hasn’t troubled righties, and that’s led to some problems. While his slider is a big swing and miss pitch -even to righties- RHBs have 3 HRs off of it, more than any other of his pitches. At this point, he’s given up 9 HRs to righties and none to lefties, which is magnified by his higher walk rate to righties as well. Already, Rodon’s seeing line-ups that are stacked with righties, kind of like his teammate Chris Sale. Command improvements would help, as would learning how Sale uses his slider against righties. In the meantime, he could probably use his change-up a bit more often than he has thus far.
1: Marte, SS
2: Seager, 3B
3: Cruz, DH
4: Cano, 2B
5: Gutierrez, LF
6: Trumbo, 3B
7: Jackson, CF
8: Montero, 1B
9: Zunino, C
Colorado Springs scored 5 runs late to win what had been a good pitchers duel by a score of 5-2. Tyler Olson was great, but ran into trouble in the 7th, and the bullpen couldn’t bail him out. Ariel Pena, the Sky Sox starter, K’d 10 in 5 1/3 scoreless IP. Forrest Snow starts today’s game against Zach Davies, a Puyallup native who grew up in Arizona, and was the Orioles #3 prospect when he was traded at the deadline to Milwaukee as part of the Gerardo Parra deal.
Biloxi shut out Jackson 3-0, as Tyler Wagner outdueled Jimmy Gilheeney. Wagner’s now faced Jackson twice, and throws 7 scoreless innings in both appearances. Edwin Diaz faces off with Hobbs Johnson of Biloxi today.
Bakersfield beat San Jose 5-3 behind Tyler O’Neill’s 29th HR. Austin Wilson chipped in with his 8th of the year. Brett Ash got the win, and then Emilio Pagan K’d 5 in 3 scoreless for the save. Scott DeCecco shares the mound with Giants’ prospect Martin Agosta, who just came off the DL for San Jose.
Clinton beat (!) Cedar Rapids 2-1 on a walk-off single by Austin Cousino. Kody Kerski and Pat Peterson combined to throw 4 scoreless innings in relief with 4 K’s against no walks. Zack Littell takes the mound for the L-Kings today.
Everett beat Tri Cities 6-3. Andrew Moore threw 3 scoreless innings to kick it off, and then the bats came alive late to pull away. Ryan Uhl had 3 hits, including 2 doubles, and DH Erick Mejia went 4-4. Drew Jackson singled and walked. Enyel de los Santos starts for the AquaSox today.