Winter grind empowers Carlos Rodon To roar back With renewed speed, psyche

Carlos Rodon is pitching at the Tankees' sping training facility in Tampa on February 16, 2023.
Sara Molnick
Sunday February 18, 2024

Table of Contents

The transformation of Carlos Rodon is one of the biggest attractions at the Yankees’ spring training camp. It isn’t just about looking leaner after the intensive grind; it’s about rediscovering his dominant pitching form. While his physical improvements are noticeable, the real focus lies on his refined mechanics, which could unlock the key to a stellar season.

Injuries plagued Carlos Rodon in his Yankees debut, forcing him to tinker with his delivery throughout the year. However, he’s laser-focused on replicating the smooth mechanics that fueled his 2.67 ERA during his peak years with the White Sox and Giants (2021-2022). Early glimpses in spring training showcase a smoother, more efficient Carlos Rodon, and he himself emphasizes the importance of maintaining this form throughout the season.

Reinvented Carlos Rodon regains heat, purpose going into 2024

Beyond the aesthetics, Carlos Rodon’s revamped mechanics hold the potential to resurrect his elite pitching abilities. This spring training isn’t just about shedding weight; it’s about shedding the limitations of last year and rediscovering the pitcher who once struck fear into hitters’ hearts. His success in 2024 hinges on this refined movement, and his early focus bodes well for a return to dominance.

Carlos Rodon conveyed on Saturday, subsequent to completing a bullpen session, that he felt he was moving more fluidly, resembling his typical movement. He reflected on his performance last year, mentioning, “I think last year I was moving a little wonky down the mound. I was trying to find it the whole year and just couldn’t find it.” He emphasized that during the offseason, he prioritized addressing his movement on the mound to rectify any issues.

Carlos-Rodon-Nestor-Cortes-Matt-blake-new-york-yankees
sny.tv

Carlos Rodon stated that he desired to retain and maintain the manner in which he moved on the mound in his mind. He expressed a concern about forgetting it and mentioned that he consistently thought about it.

Forget just watching Carlos Rodon throw; it’s the meticulous preparation beforehand that paints the real picture. Before each pitch, he goes through meticulous drills, laser-focused on replicating the refined mechanics he believes hold the key to his success.

“From where he is right now to 12 months ago, it’s night and day,” manager Aaron Boone told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “He’s just in a way better place. He had the offseason and the winter that he needed to have to give himself the best chance to be successful. He’s checked that first box.”

Reborn with velocity resurrection

But beyond subjective assessments, the Yankees have hard data to back up the visual improvements. Last spring, pitching coach Matt Blake clocked Carlos Rodon’s fastball in bullpen sessions at a concerning 85-88 mph. This year? A significant jump, averaging 88-91 mph, already showing signs of the velocity he needs to dominate.

Live batting practice tells a similar story. Last year, his fastball typically sat at 88-90 mph. Now, he’s firing heaters at 94-95 mph, even touching 97 mph during a recent session. That’s a difference you can measure, and a sign that Carlos Rodon’s revamped mechanics are translating into tangible results.

Carlos Rodon explained that the ease of attaining velocity at the moment likely accounted for its appearance.

“There’s just another gear to it,” pitching coach Matt Blake told The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner. “It just looks like he’s moving more athletically with a little more power. All of that is coming together.”

Blake outlined a series of interconnected problems that plagued Carlos Rodon, starting from last spring, his inaugural season with the Yankees following his lucrative six-year, $162 million deal.

carlos-rodon-new-york-yankees
MLB

Blake elaborated that when the pitcher isn’t in his current physical condition and is striving to make a good impression, he tends to seek additional velocity in his fastball but doesn’t quite achieve it. This pursuit leads to overexertion, resulting in compromised command, which then places undue strain on the body. This sequence of events, starting with an elbow issue in March, followed by a back problem, culminates in a slow start to the season. By focusing on physical preparation, including improving fitness, strength, and targeted range of motion, the pitcher can alter his delivery mechanics and regain the power he needs.

Blake suggested that Carlos Rodon seemed to be executing his movements with increased athleticism and efficiency. Unlike past offseasons, he hit the ground running in January, relocating to Tampa by the first week and immediately diving into his throwing routine. This early start wasn’t just about getting ahead; a significant chunk of his initial month was dedicated to meticulously refining his pitching mechanics.

New attitude as Carlos Rodon ready to bounce back

While instinct plays a crucial role in this process, Carlos Rodon isn’t flying blind. He incorporated video analysis into his training, allowing him to dissect his throws, identify areas for improvement, and make precise adjustments. This tech-assisted approach, combined with his early commitment to practice, paints a picture of a pitcher laser-focused on unlocking his full potential in 2024.

Carlos Rodon mentioned that during the offseason, he extensively reviewed videos of himself, working closely with coaches to analyze his throws and make necessary refinements.

newsday.com

Last year’s struggles are a harsh reality for Carlos Rodon, one he fully acknowledges. He knows erasing that memory means staying healthy, a hurdle that tripped him up in 2023. Managing his emotions, another past battle also remains a focus.

He’s determined to shake the “injury-prone” label, but his approach is measured. Gradual progress, not a quick fix, is the key. However, with his revamped mechanics, optimism simmers within him.

“If I’m moving right,” he declares with quiet confidence, “everything else takes care of itself.”

Carlos Rodon stands at a crossroads. Last season’s injuries and inconsistency left a bitter taste, but the fire in his eyes speaks of a fighter, not a quitter. His early spring training resurgence is more than just muscle; it’s a testament to meticulous preparation and a relentless pursuit of rediscovering his peak form.

The data is promising, the mechanics smoother, and his own conviction unwavering. But spring training whispers are just that – whispers. The real test lies ahead, under the harsh glare of the regular season lights.

“Last year was last year,” he said. “It’s one of those things that I do want to put behind me, and I will still reflect on it. Like, what happened? Why did it go this way? Hopefully, we found answers.”

Will Carlos Rodon silence his doubters and reclaim his All-Star dominance? Or will the specter of past struggles resurface? Only time will tell. But one thing’s certain: Carlos Rodon’s story is far from over. This spring, he’s re-writing the narrative, pitch by meticulous pitch. The final chapter – a triumphant return or an unfortunate repeat – waits to be penned. And baseball fans, with bated breath, await the thrilling reveal.

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!