Who is Carlos Rodon, Yankees’ 2023 letdown poised for a 2024 turnaround?

Carlos Rodon is playing for the SF Giants against the Indians.

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After giving Aaron Judge a huge contract to stay with the team, the Yankees went to make another big splash in the 2023 offseason. Free-agent starting pitcher Carlos Rodon.

The New York Yankees beat the Rangers, Dodgers, Orioles, and Twins in the Carlos Rodon sweepstakes, and for the second time in the same offseason, beat San Francisco.

Who is Carlos Rodon?

PositionStarting pitcher
Active MLB yearsSince 2015
MLB Teams (years)Chicago White Sox (2015–2021) San Francisco Giants (2022)
MLB DebutApril 21, 2015 vs. the Cleveland Indians
Date of BirthDecember 10, 1992 (age 30)
Native placeMiami, Florida
All-Star2× All-Star (2021, 2022)
No hitter×1 (April 14, 2021, vs. the Indians)
Win-loss until 202256-46

Pre-MLB career of Carlos Rodon

A native of Miami, Fl, Carlos Rodon went to North Carolina’s Holly Springs High School. He attracted attention in 2010 after going 10-1 and having an ERA of 0.80. His exploits included a no-hitter, two one-hitters, and four shutouts. The North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association honored him as an All-State that year.

Carlos Rodon’s 1.40 ERA and 135 strikeouts helped his team beat the favorites T. C. Roberson High School for the 4A state title in 2011. The Milwaukee Brewers wanted him to draft in the 16th but he preferred to play for North Carolina State University.

In 2012, Carlos Rodon became the NCBWA Freshman Pitcher of the Year and an All-American with a record of 9–0, 135 strikeouts, and an ERA of 1.57. The pitcher was nominated for and also won many awards. His performance was key to North Carolina winning its first College World Series in 2013 after four and half decades. Carlos Rodon set a state record of 184 strikeouts.

Carlos Rodon in Team USA

With being named the Richard W. “Dick” Case Player of the Year Award, he was in Team USA in 2013. During two years with them, he got a 0.75 ERA. Though Carlos Rodon pitched 36 innings, he gave up only 3 earned runs while mustering 42 strikeouts.

Drafting and Professional Career

In 2014, the starting pitcher was chosen by the Chicago White Sox as the first-round third draft. Carlos Rodon became a White Sox for $6.5 million. His performance with the Arizona League White Sox landed him at the AAA Charlotte Knights. The starter ended the season in the minors with a 3.28 ERA.

MLB Debut in 2015

The Chicago White Sox included Carlos Rodon into their MLB lineup on April 20, 2015, as a bullpen option. He pitched his first MLB ball the next day with one strikeout and two runs in 2.1 innings. In his second game, he bettered it with two earned runs and eight strikeouts in six innings. The pitcher had a 3.75 ERA in 2015.

After a wrist injury in July, Carlos Rodon completed his 2016 season with a 4.04 ERA. This included 28 starts. He could only start 12 games in 2017 following his injury. The 2018 season also saw him spending time on the injured list and limiting himself to 20 starts. Though Carlos Rodon started the game on Opening Day, he had to leave the 2019 season in July for Tommy John surgery after only seven starts. He pitched only four games in 2020.

The Revival of Career

The White Sox gave Carlos Rodon a new one-year contract of just $3 million in 2021. He shut down Cleveland with a no-hitter in an away game on April 14. His performance landed him on the All-Star team that year. His season ended with 13-5 and 135 strikeouts in 24 starts. He notched up 2.37 in ERA and became the second-best starter in the league.

The 2022 Season

The San Francisco Giants signed the pitcher for two seasons with a salary of $22 million a year and a second-year player opt-out clause. Carlos Rodon made a team record on April 9 with 12 strikeouts against the Marlins. Six days later, he won his first starting game for San Francisco against the Guardians. This included nine strikeouts and just two runs in seven innings.

Carlos Rodon struck out eight of the Mets on April 20 to break the 28-strikeout team record in a regular season He went on to strike out 38 opponents in 17 days starting from April 9. The starter struck out 11 of the Cubs on September 9 making a double-digit figure for the 10th time in 2022.

Carlos Rodon was an All-Star in 2022 and was nominated for the Cy Young Award. In the offseason, he opted out of his contract with the Giants.

2023 arrival in New York didn’t go as planned

Carlos Rodón’s 2023 season with the New York Yankees, following a six-year, $162 million contract, was fraught with setbacks from the outset. Starting the season on the injured list due to a forearm strain and further delayed by a back injury, Rodón’s anticipated debut was postponed until July 7. His performance, starkly contrasting with his previous two-year stretch where he ranked third in baseball with an 11.1 fWAR, culminated in a disappointing record.

In 14 starts, Rodón pitched 64.1 innings, posting a 6.85 ERA, with a 63 ERA+, 5.79 FIP, 5.30 xFIP, and a -0.2 fWAR. His strikeout and walk rates stood at 22.4 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively. Notably, his final start on September 29 saw him allowing eight runs without securing an out, marking a low point in his season.

Despite a lucrative contract ensuring a $27.83 million salary for 2023 and retention through 2028, Rodón’s year was a departure from expectations set by his prior achievements and the Yankees’ envisioned elite pitching rotation.

Rodón’s attitude and demeanor, particularly in moments of on-field struggle, sparked discussions among fans and observers. His challenging season ends with his future performance and potential for recovery as points of focus for both the Yankees and their fans.

Ready for a transformed 2024

Carlos Rodón’s inaugural season with the New York Yankees left much to be desired, marred by a less-than-stellar 3-8 record and an ERA nearing 7.00. Yet, beneath the surface statistics, there are glimmers of the potential that once heralded him as a top-tier pitcher. As the 2024 season approaches, the question isn’t just whether Rodón can bounce back, but rather how likely it is that he will.

Carlos Rodon is pitching at the Tankees' sping training facility in Tampa on February 16, 2023.

The optimism surrounding Rodón’s potential resurgence isn’t unfounded. Despite his 2023 struggles, his underlying metrics—like a consistent strikeout rate and an FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) that suggests he was better than his ERA indicates—offer hope. FanGraphs projects a notable improvement for Rodón in 2024, anticipating a lower ERA of 3.82 and a FIP close to 3.77, hinting at a return to form. These projections suggest that Rodón’s 2023 performance might have been an anomaly, skewed by factors beyond his control.

However, it’s crucial to balance optimism with realism. Baseball-Reference’s projections are more cautious, forecasting a modest improvement to a 4.09 ERA and a win-loss record hovering around .500. This divergence in projections highlights the uncertainty surrounding Rodón’s future performance.

The key to Rodón’s potential success lies in several factors: his health, his ability to adjust and refine his pitching, and perhaps an element of luck. His performance during Spring Training and the early part of the 2024 season will be critical indicators of his ability to overcome last year’s hurdles.

Rodón’s journey in 2024 is set against the backdrop of high expectations and the relentless spotlight of New York’s baseball scene. If he can leverage his innate talent and address the inconsistencies of his previous season, there’s a strong chance for a narrative shift. A redemption arc is not only possible but within reach, should Rodón capitalize on his strengths and mitigate his weaknesses.

Do you think he’ll come back strong in 2024? Leave your comment below.

Standard Pitching

9 Yrs59540.5223.831661611310911.2796419388106347510114615838531083.741.2547.913.4102.91
162 Game Avg.12110.5223.8335330100190166878122721210100128011083.741.2547.913.4102.91
Baseball Reference

Postseason Pitching

2 Yrs (2 Series)01013.52100002.2444041310017313.5013.510.10.75-0.21-2.70%
1 ALWC00inf1000000122021000030-0.08-1.10%
1 ALDS0106.751100002.23220203100141.87510.106.810.11.5-0.13-1.60%
Baseball Reference

Career Graph

All-Star GamesCy Young (rank, share)Weekly AwardsWAR for Pitchers
2021 AL (5, 16%)
2022 NL (6, 14%)
0.30 Career Shares (181st)
2021 Apr 18th AL Player of the Week2021 AL 5.1 (4th)
2022 NL 5.4 (4th)
Active 15.8 (47th)
Earned Run AverageWinsWin-Loss %Walks & Hits per IP
2022 NL 2.88 (6th)2021 AL 13 (5th)
2022 NL 14 (9th)
2021 AL .722 (2nd)
Active .522 (40th)
2022 NL 1.028 (9th)
Hits per 9 IPStrikeouts per 9 IPStrikeoutsGames Started
2022 NL 6.624 (4th)2016 AL 9.164 (7th)
2022 NL 11.983 (1st)
2021 AL 185 (9th)
2022 NL 237 (2nd)
Active 1,011 (48th)
2022 NL 31 (10th)
Complete GamesShutoutsBases on BallsStrikeouts / Base On Balls
2021 AL 1 (3rd)
2022 NL 1 (3rd)
Active 3 (37th)
2021 AL 1 (2nd)
Active 1 (49th)
2015 AL 71 (4th)
Active 347 (50th)
2022 NL 4.558 (5th)
Home Runs per 9 IPWild PitchesHit By PitchAdjusted ERA+
2022 NL 0.607 (4th)2016 AL 11 (5th)
2022 NL 10 (3rd)
2023 AL 9 (8th)
Active 58 (19th)
2018 AL 12 (7th)
Active 46 (33rd)
2022 NL 137 (6th)
Fielding Independent PitchingAdj. Pitching RunsAdj. Pitching WinsBase-Out Runs Saved (RE24)
2022 NL 2.25 (1st)2021 AL 29 (2nd)
2022 NL 23 (10th)
2021 AL 3.0 (2nd)
2022 NL 2.4 (10th)
2021 AL 30.07 (3rd)
2022 NL 29.40 (9th)
Sit. Wins Saved (WPA/LI)Base-Out Wins Saved (REW)Fielding % as P
2021 AL 2.9 (2nd)2021 AL 3.1 (3rd)
2022 NL 3.2 (9th)
2022 NL 1.000 (1st)
Baseball Reference

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