Carlos Rodon unveils new cutter, the first changeup in his nine-season MLB career

Yankees' Carlos Rodon is pitching during the spring training game against Toronto on Feb. 25. 2024.

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Making his first start of the spring, veteran left-hander Carlos Rodon unveiled a new weapon in his arsenal on Sunday. The Yankees pitcher, who displayed physical improvements and refined mechanics upon arrival at spring training, showcased a new pitch during the Yankees’ 12-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. According to Baseball Savant, powered by Statcast, Carlos Rodon threw five cutters throughout the game.

This development is noteworthy for the Yankees as Carlos Rodon has never utilized a cutter in a regular-season game throughout his nine-year major league career. The addition of this pitch could potentially expand his repertoire and enhance his effectiveness on the mound.

The Yankees starter stated that he had started experimenting with the new pitch toward the end of last year. Carlos Rodon mentioned that there were plans to work on it during spring training this year and to integrate it into his pitching arsenal.

Carlos Rodon lights up Yankees’ hopes

Making his first spring training start, the Yankees left-hander relied primarily on his familiar pitch combination of a slider and four-seam fastball, which averaged 93.6 mph with a recorded maximum velocity of 95.9 mph against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Also, Carlos Rodon also showcased a new weapon in his arsenal – the cutter. He threw five of these pitches during the game, marking the first documented use of a cutter in his nine-year major league career.

Carlos Rodon, player of the New York Yankees
Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

While the addition of the cutter signifies an attempt to expand his repertoire, Carlos Rodon’s overall pitching performance saw mixed results. He struck out five batters and allowed only one hit across 2.2 innings with 48 pitches. However, the Yankees starter also issued two walks and hit a batter, while surrendering a solo home run to Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk, notably off the newly introduced cutter.

Carlos Rodon stated that he had pulled it across the zone and mentioned that he was trying to find that line with the cutter. He explained that he had just started throwing it and was in the process of figuring out where he wanted to start that pitch. His acknowledged Kirk’s proficiency as a fastball hitter and noted that Kirk made a good swing. The Yankees star remarked that the pitch could have been better and suggested that there could have been a different pitch selection. He admitted that it could have been a better pitch from him, emphasizing that it is what it is.

Carlos Rodon also mentioned that the pitch was still developing and emphasized the importance of building confidence in it. He expressed the need for more repetitions to further develop the pitch.

However, the Yankees starter is confident in his ability to utilize the cutter effectively once the regular season begins. He expressed confidence, stating that he would throw it whenever, questioning, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

Throughout the Yankees’ spring training so far, Carlos Rodon has expressed his focus on delivering consistent, positive outings and moving past last year’s struggles. While acknowledging some mechanical issues encountered in the second inning against the Blue Jays, he remains focused on building towards a successful season.

Carlos Rodon remarked that he had maintained a positive outlook throughout the day and had performed well. While he acknowledged that there were areas where he could enhance his game, the Yankees’ lefty expressed his intention to carry those improvements into the next start.

In the second inning, Carlos Rodon experienced some inconsistency while pitching from the stretch, noting that the adjustments he has implemented in his downhill mechanics feel more comfortable when pitching from the windup at the moment.

MLB

He commented that the windup had a good rhythm and pace, highlighting that transitioning into the stretch took him a few pitches to adjust, resulting in two walks and a hit-by-pitch. He acknowledged that he didn’t perform well in that aspect.

Carlos Rodon mentioned that Cole advised him to take his time between the second and third innings. The Yankees ace told him “Hey, you have time. You’re throwing every pitch in like two seconds,” or words to that effect. So in the third inning, Carlos Rodon was mindful of that advice, aiming to establish a better tempo and give himself more time.

However, the Yankees have noted that Carlos Rodon, who is now in better physical condition, appears much more at ease on the pitcher’s mound this spring. This observation was held on Sunday as well. Manager Aaron Boone remarked that one of the positive observations they’ve made since the beginning is Rodon’s improved comfort on the mound. He noted that he has positioned his body more effectively to carry out his athletic endeavors, leading to a more efficient delivery compared to last year at this time.

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