Baseball / Sports

Carlos Rodon seems to be on fast track to majors

First-round draft pick Carlos Rodon and Chris Sale have a few things in common, and it's no secret the White Sox have Rodon on the "Sale Plan" for success.

Rodon, the third selection in the 2014 draft, was rewarded with the largest bonus of any draftee ($6.58 million), and advanced from Class A Winston-Salem to Triple-A Charlotte on Saturday after only four appearances covering 9 2/3 innings.

Before the Sox held off the Blue Jays in a 7-5 win Sunday, general manager Rick Hahn tried to temper comparisons between their hot prospect and their dominant ace.

"I understand if you're talking about polished college left-handers on the fast track and, frankly, with similar repertoires, the comparisons are natural," Hahn said. "But really, the only relevancy of Chris' path is the fact we have experience with guys making that transition (to the majors) fairly quickly.

"That doesn't mean Carlos is going to do it. It just means we've been through it ... which can only help Carlos should we get to that point."

Most expect "that point" to come in September, after three or four starts at Charlotte, including his first one there Tuesday night.

Would manager Robin Ventura like to see Rodon up?

"If he's doing well enough to come up here, yeah," he said. "Again, we're looking at trying to help us win. If he's available and ready to go, he's ready to go. I would like to see it, but he's got to be ready to go. But I don't get to see him."

Rodon's trajectory is similar to that of Sale, who made four relief appearances at Winston-Salem after being picked 13th in the 2010 draft, and seven relief appearances at Charlotte before being called up to the Sox on Aug. 4. He became the first Sox pitcher to make his debut the same year he was drafted since Alex Fernandez in 1990.

Hahn said it's a "different situation," pointing to Sale's signing in June 2010 while Rodon wasn't signed until July. The 2010 Sox also needed an arm for the stretch run, while the 2014 Sox are playing out the string.

So why promote Rodon so quickly?

"He's actually showed up better equipped than we even anticipated," Hahn said. "We knew that he had the potential to come quickly, and that he was going to adapt fairly well to professional ball.

"But the two major things we wanted him to work on were fastball command and more consistent use of the changeup. Both have come fairly quickly, to the point where we felt it made sense to continually challenge him.

"It's not an indication of any subsequent steps of change in his timeline to get to the big leagues and stay in the big leagues. It is a response to how well he's done so far and with the minor league season starting to come to a close here, we figured let's continue to challenge him the next couple of weeks and see how he responds."

The Sox spent more than $10.5 million on the draft, a franchise record and second most in the majors, continuing their recent philosophy of investing in the draft instead of free agency. They paid a $356,175 tax for going over the maximum, and have also spent $4 million so far on international signings.

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