Yankees gamble: Will Carlos Rodon’s third pitch be his ticket back?

Carlos Rodon, player of the New York Yankees in 2023.
Amanda Paula
Friday March 1, 2024

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Carlos Rodon of the New York Yankees is on a quest to revive his All-Star caliber performance, and he’s turning to a new strategy for the 2024 season, one that involves a key lesson from his Cy Young-winning teammate, Gerrit Cole.

What is happened to Carlos Rodon?


Carlos Rodon endured a challenging debut season with the Yankees, plagued by injuries and underwhelming outings on the mound. However, he’s been meticulously dissecting what went awry and seeking avenues for improvement. In a recent spring training matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays, Rodon unveiled a significant adjustment: the introduction of a third pitch into his repertoire – a cutter.

During the game, observers noted that some of Carlos Rodon’s deliveries displayed a blend of velocity and movement that fell between his customary four-seam fastball and slider – a hallmark characteristic of the cut fastball. When pressed about his experimentation with the cutter by Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, Rodon revealed his consultations with Gerrit Cole, whose mastery of the cutter played a pivotal role in his standout performance during the latter half of the previous season. Given Cole’s accolades, it’s a logical move for Rodon to seek guidance from him.

Interestingly, Rodon’s pitching style and the trajectory of his pitches bore resemblance to his standout seasons in 2021 and 2022, characterized by a dynamic fastball-slider combination that frequently felled opposing batters. The addition of a third pitch suggests that Rodon has identified a crucial flaw in his 2023 struggles: a loss of deception leading to predictability.

Of course, the cutter isn’t Rodon’s sole remedy for enhancing the deception of his pitches. Pitching coach Matt Blake has been diligently collaborating with the left-hander to refine his mechanics, particularly focusing on his delivery stride. Whether Rodon maintains the use of the cutter during the regular season remains uncertain, particularly if his refined mechanics restore the effectiveness of his fastball-slider combination.

Nevertheless, the incorporation of a third pitch into Rodon’s arsenal holds promise for reigniting the spark that made him a formidable pitcher. With an expanded array of options to confound opposing batters, Rodon stands to regain his status as an unpredictable and dominant force on the mound.

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