The lowdown on FA starter Carlos Rodón

November 6th, 2022

Carlos Rodón had a career year in 2022 in his first season with the Giants. He built on the breakout 2021 he had with the White Sox, setting new career highs in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched. Rodón led the Majors in strikeouts per nine innings, reached the 200-K mark for the first time and was an All-Star for a second straight season.

The 29-year-old is now a free agent after opting out of the second year of the two-year, $44 million contract he signed with San Francisco in March.

You can follow all the latest Rodón rumors here.

Here’s what you need to know about Rodón:

Birthdate: Dec. 10, 1992 (Age 30 in 2023)
Primary position: SP
Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 245 lbs.
Bats/throws: Left/left
Place of birth: Miami, Fla.
School(s): Holly Springs (N.C.) HS, North Carolina State
Drafted: 1st round (3rd), 2014, by White Sox
MLB debut: April 21, 2015
Qualifying offer: Received one

2022: 14-8, 2.88 ERA (140 ERA+), 237 K, 5.4 WAR* in 178 IP
Career: 56-46, 3.60 ERA (115 ERA+), 947 K, 16.7 WAR in 847 1/3 IP
*Per Baseball-Reference

Rodón is the only pitcher in the Majors with at least 12 strikeouts per nine innings in each of the last two seasons (min. 100 innings pitched in each season), with his 12.6 K/9 in 2021 and MLB-leading 12.0 K/9 in 2022. His 12.2 K/9 since the start of 2021 is the best among the 114 pitchers with 200-plus innings pitched over the last two years.

Rodón has answered a lot of questions about his health over the last two years, but the question is still probably his durability as he enters his 30s. Rodón is coming off a career-high workload, and he's thrown 310 2/3 innings over the last two seasons after only throwing 42 1/3 innings over the two seasons before that. Hopefully he's put his past Tommy John and shoulder surgeries behind him, but will he be able to maintain himself as a 30-plus starts a year pitcher over the course of a new contract?

He was the double-digit K king of 2022
Rodón recorded 10 or more strikeouts in a game 11 times in his debut season with the Giants. That was the most double-digit K games of any pitcher in 2022.

Most games with 10+ K, 2022
1. Carlos Rodón: 11
2. Shohei Ohtani: 10
3. (tie) Gerrit Cole / Corbin Burnes: 9
5. (tie) Brandon Woodruff / Robbie Ray: 7

He threw the 20th no-hitter in White Sox history
Rodón no-hit the Guardians in front of the home crowd in Chicago on April 14, 2021 -- and he nearly had a perfect game, too, retiring the first 25 batters he faced before hitting Roberto Pérez with a back-foot slider in a 1-2 count in the ninth inning. Rodón still completed the no-hitter, the 20th in White Sox franchise history, most of any American League team. He became the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter within two years of having Tommy John surgery.

He's dialed up the heat
Rodón is throwing harder than ever before. His 95.5 mph average fastball velocity in 2022 was a new career high and ranked in the top five among lefty starters. Rodón's velo first spiked in 2021, jumping from 92.8 mph in his injury-shortened 2020 up to 95.4 mph. Rodón has even topped 100 mph six times over the last two seasons, when he'd only ever touched triple digits once in his career before that, back in 2016.

He's got a wipeout slider
As great as Rodón's fastball is, his slider is just as nasty. Over the last two seasons, he has 225 strikeouts on his four-seamer (second-most of any pitcher), and 184 strikeouts on his slider (tied for third-most). But why choose between them? Rodón racked up 409 strikeouts with his fastball-slider combo from 2021-22. Only Robbie Ray (427) had more.

He used to play with Trea
Rodón was college teammates with 2021 MLB batting champion Trea Turner at NC State, which meant Wolfpack fans got to see Rodón's power slider in the rotation and Turner's electric speed sparking the lineup before the two of them both got drafted in the first round in 2014 (Rodón third overall, Turner 13th). Rodón and Turner even led NC State to its first College World Series appearance since 1968 in 2013. Rodón went 10-3 with a 2.99 ERA and 184 strikeouts in 132 1/3 innings that year, while Turner batted .368 with 30 stolen bases.