Monday, August 12, 2013
Scouting the Draft 2014: Carlos Rodon
As Giants fans thoughts increasingly turn to the offseason and next year, it's also time to start thinking about the 2014 draft which is shaping up to be an important one for the Giants. Not only are they almost assured of having a high pick, this draft promises to be one of the stronger ones in recent years. The Giants are currently tied with the Phillies and Cubs for the 5'th worse record in MLB. I am not sure how draft order is decided in the event of identical records. I think it may be a coin toss or some other random outcome event.
Giants fans do not need to be educated about how much difference a draft pick that high can make as top 10 picks in the past have yielded Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey and, ahem, Zack Wheeler. Go farther back into Giants history and we find Will Clark and Matt Williams as top 5 overall picks who went on to become impact players.
A nice thing about all this is that we Giants fans can discuss the best prospects in the game and have a realistic chance of seeing the Giants draft our favorite one. With that background, let's get started looking at some of these top prospects in the 2014 draft.
If the draft were held today, there is a good chance that LHP Carlos Rodon would be the first player picked. Rodon is a big bodied lefty at 6'3", 235 lbs. He pitches for NC State in a major D1 conference so there is no question about the quality of his competition. He has dominated college ball as both a freshman and sophomore. Scouts probably wish he could just sit out his junior season as the only thing left for him to prove is that he can avoid a major injury! Here are his results from his first two college campaigns:
2012 9-0, 1.57, 114.2 IP, 41 BB, 135 K's.
2013 10-3, 2.99, 132.1 IP, 45 BB, 184 K's.
As you can see, his ERA was higher, but his peripheral stats were, if anything, even more dominant in 2013.
As for a scouting report, Rodon is a big body, particularly in the lower half. Think of a slightly bigger, lefthanded version of Chad Billingsley in terms of physical description. Let's just say he has a massive backside and legs! He throws all 3 versions of the fastball with good command. His 4-seamer runs 92-95 MPH and he carries his velocity deep into games. The two-seamer 90-92 with a hard tail. He cutter is 89-91 with a hard horizontal bite. He has a good curveball while his changeup is a work in progress, but with good arm action allowing deception.
As usual, the best information on draft prospects can be found at Big League Futures which is where most of my information comes from. Their site is linked to the left. Be sure to look up their draft profile which includes a lengthy scouting video.
Rodon is a guy who is essentially an off-the-shelf, top-of-the-rotation SP out of college. I could see a drafting team letting him take it easy the summer after to draft due to a demanding college workload, maybe starting 2015 in AAA but with an early callup, a la Timmy.
Earlier this season, we could reasonably say that the Giants would have no shot at Rodon. It is still likely that he will be drafted before the Giants turn to pick, but it is no longer a pipedream to think he might be available.