On Friday, one Chicago team called up a highly touted prospect taken near the top of the First-Year Player Draft. On Monday, the other did the same.
Three days after the Cubs promoted third baseman Kris Bryant, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 Draft, the White Sox summoned left-hander Carlos Rodon, the No. 3 overall choice last June. Rodon became the second player from the 2014 Draft to reach the big leagues. He follows fellow southpaw Brandon Finnegan of the Royals, who made history by becoming the first player to appear in the College World Series and the World Series in the same calendar year.
Ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the White Sox system and No. 15 in baseball by MLBPipeline.com, Rodon will break into the Majors as a reliever. However, his long-term future is as a frontline starter, and he could join the rotation shortly if John Danks and Hector Noesi continue to falter. Rodon made a case for opening the season in Chicago's rotation by performing well in Spring Training, and he struck out 13 in 10 innings during two starts at Triple-A Charlotte.
The White Sox were delighted to get Rodon with the third pick in the 2014 Draft because they wanted a college starter, and he entered the year as the consensus best prospect available. He didn't quite live up to the lofty expectations as a junior at North Carolina State, but he still was regarded as the best lefty to come out of the college ranks since Vanderbilt's David Price was the No. 1 overall pick in 2007. Chicago paid Rodon a $6,582,000 bonus -- the largest in last year's Draft, the highest in franchise history and the most ever for a lefty.
Rodon should make for a devastating left-handed reliever because his slider already ranks with the best in the big leagues. He usually throws it in the mid-80s and can reach the 90s, and its two-plane break is just as notable as its velocity. It destroys left-handed hitters but also can get right-handers out as well.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder also has a quality fastball that sits at 92-94 mph and tops out at 97. Rodon's changeup can give him a third plus pitch at its best, though it's not as consistent as his fastball and slider. The White Sox sent him to Charlotte so he could refine his fastball command and changeup, and once those missions are fully accomplished, he'll team with Chris Sale to give Chicago two of the best lefty starters in baseball.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.