How did Carlos Rodon become special after using pitching technology?

Carlos Rodon is training at Tampa, FL, during the Yankees spring training camp 2023.
Michael Bennington
Saturday March 4, 2023

Table of Contents

TAMPA — Carlos Rodon was a brute force but not a big ace in MLB until 2021. He then went on to play in the All-Star Game the next two years, first with the White Sox and then with the Giants. This was mostly because of the new pitching technology, which helped him figure out what made him special.

Carlos Rodon was taken in the first round of the 2013 draft by the White Sox. He joined the team in 2015 and pitched well for six seasons, ending with a 4.14 ERA. In December of that year, the 6-foot-3 left-handed pitcher was not re-signed by the White Sox clearly indicating that their former No. 3 overall pick did not work out as well as hoped.

“When I was 12, 13, 14, or even 20 years old, I didn’t know,” Carlos Rodon said a day before his first game with the Yankees in the Grapefruit League.

Carlos Rodon said he didn’t learn about his arsenal until 2018 or 2019 when technology like TrackMan became more common in the game. The harder it was to hit his fastball, the more he threw it over the plate. In his great year with San Francisco in 2022, the big lefty threw his four-seamer on average from 6 feet, 6 inches above the ground, which was much higher than most.

The average speed of the pitch was 95.6 mph. The spin and speed of the pitch keep the ball in the air. His fastball dropped an average of 12 inches from his hand to the plate, which was much less than the 16 inches an average four-seamer dropped.

The old saying that pitchers should always keep the ball low has never seemed more outdated. Carlos Rodon’s fastball is thrown high and stays high. It buzzes at the top of the strike zone and goes past the bat.

“I had no idea how good I was — I didn’t know how good my fastball was until the last few years, when TrackMan started tracking everything,” siad Carlos Rodon following a bullpen session.

After the news came out, the pitch mix was changed. He used his fastball more than 60% of the time last year. It was the second most common pitch in baseball, after Corbin Burnes’ cutter for Milwaukee.

Statcast’s “Run-Value” number, which finds out the effectiveness of a throw, says that it was the 13th most valuable pitch in all of baseball.

Carlos Rodon at his first Yankees official live training at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Feb 18. 2023.

Carlos Rodon has almost abandoned a third pitch during the last two seasons, posting a 2.67 ERA in 55 starts, banging fastballs and wicked sliders past batters. He began using a curveball more at the end of last season to provide variety, a trend that will continue this season.

“I feel like I have to throw more curveballs this year, for sure,” Carlos Rodon said.

Carlos Rodon has discovered what makes him excellent, and he is experimenting with what can make him better.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Pinstripes Nation!

Your Daily Dose of Yankees Magic Delivered to Your Inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Don't Miss Any of the Latest Yankees News, Rumors, and Exclusive Offers!