White Sox want Rodon to be 'complete product' in debut

Talented lefty likely to earn roster spot only when he's ready to stay for good

White Sox want Rodon to be 'complete product' in debut

MESA, Ariz. -- The prevailing school of thought concerning Carlos Rodon and breaking camp with the White Sox is that once he arrives in the Major Leagues, he's there to stay.

Comments from manager Robin Ventura on Friday concerning the talented 22-year-old southpaw did nothing to change that point of view.

"Everybody has different opinions on him, but you don't want to put him in there with one pitch or two pitches," Ventura said of the No. 3 pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. "You want him to be armed with the things that make him successful, and you don't want him to come up here and be a flash in the pan and he's got to go down and work on stuff.

"He needs to be a complete product when he comes out of here. On the other hand, you do see the talent that's there and what's inside. You saw it the other night. There's still time to go in this camp, and we'll see where that ends up."

That "other night" was Rodon's nine-strikeout performance in Surprise on Wednesday against the Royals, featuring most of their regulars. His effort earned post-start comparisons to a young Steve Carlton from one MLB.com scout and to Madison Bumgarner from the Royals' Eric Hosmer in another interview.

Rodon on his dominant outing

There's certainly nothing like being equated to a Hall of Famer and the author of one of the greatest postseason performances in the game's history before even throwing a Major League pitch. Rodon has been working on his changeup and fastball location during Spring Training, with the change standing out as his third pitch.

Rodon certainly could survive with two pitches in the bullpen, not to mention a big league confidence and bravado, quite possibly turning a solid relief crew into an elite force. But Ventura doesn't want Rodon overly reliant on the slider, a point Rodon made after SoxFest when discussing the changeup.

"You see a lot of injuries if that's the only thing he's throwing at guys," Ventura said. "You want him to be able to go in there and have more than just that. The changeup is getting much better every time he goes. The last thing you want is him going out there and counting on one pitch."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.