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updated: 6/5/2014 10:21 PM

Sox hope lefty Rodon is right fit

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  • North Carolina State pitcher Carlos Rodon was selected by the White Sox with the third overall pick in the amateur draft Thursday.

      North Carolina State pitcher Carlos Rodon was selected by the White Sox with the third overall pick in the amateur draft Thursday.
    Associated Press

  • United States pitcher Carlos Rodon throws during the first inning of a 2013 exhibition game against Cuba.

      United States pitcher Carlos Rodon throws during the first inning of a 2013 exhibition game against Cuba.
    Associated Press

 
 

Left continues to be right for the White Sox.

Their current top three starters -- ace Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks -- are all left-handers.

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So is Carlos Rodon, the Sox' first-round draft pick (No. 3 overall) in Thursday's MLB amateur draft.

The White Sox could have balanced out the future rotation selecting LSU right-hander Aaron Nola, who went No. 7 to the Phillies, or Vanderbilt right-hander Tyler Beede, who went No. 14 to the Giants, or even East Carolina righty Jeff Hoffman, who went No. 9 to the Blue Jays despite having Tommy John surgery last month.

In the end, the Sox couldn't pass up the 21-year-old Rodon (row-DON), a 6-foot-3, 235-pound lefty who was 25-10 with a 2.24 ERA, 8 complete games and 436 strikeouts in 345.2 innings the past three seasons at North Carolina State, where he held opposing hitters to a .201 average.

"We had him targeted at some point in his sophomore season last year," said Doug Laumann, the White Sox' director of amateur scouting. "We were pleased that he was there. We've watched him as senior in high school (Holly Springs, N.C) and certainly followed him throughout his career at N.C. State. Probably the thing that was most impressive about him was last summer on the biggest stage, kind of an international stage, against Cuba. He stepped up and threw probably as well as anybody could possibly expect for somebody in that setting."

This season, Rodon was 6-7 for the Wolfpack, but he had a 2.01 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 98⅔ innings.

"Throughout this year, we followed him and there were times when he showed that same stuff," Laumann said. "He didn't particularly have maybe the really dominant type of year that we kind of maybe expected, but at the same time you have to consider the history that you have. This isn't just a one-month, or even a one-year process.

"It's a process where we've looked at these guys and we've watched their progress over several years. For those reasons we thought he was the consensus best guy on the board."

In 2010, the Sox drafted Sale out of Florida Gulf Coast University No. 13 overall, and he was in the bullpen two months later after only 11 minor-league appearances. Is Rodon, who throws a wipeout slider, on a similar path?

"We certainly think (Rodon) is an extremely talented pitcher, and with the type of fastball and the slider he has, he certainly could be a guy that is on a so-called fast track," Laumann said. "But I think it would be somewhat unfair to say that he could be on the same type of track that Sale (was) on."

Scott Boras is representing Rodon, and he's well known as the toughest negotiator in the game. Are the White Sox going to be able to sign Rodon in a reasonable amount of time?

"I think (Sox general manager) Rick (Hahn) and Scott Boras have a fairly good relationship," Laumann said. "We're excited because No. 1, we know how competitive this kid is and how important it is for him to be comfortable with an organization and we've laid a lot of groundwork, we spent a lot of time with him, we spent time with him over the winter, meeting him. We're really confident we're going to get it done. I'd be surprised if that doesn't happen."

Adams second pick:

In the second round late Thursday night, the White Sox drafted right-handed pitcher Spencer Adams with the 44th overall pick.

A recent graduate of White County High School in Georgia, the 6-foot-5, 180-pounder was 4-2 with a 0.72 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 52 innings during his senior season.

Adams' fastball tops out at 97 mph, and like Carlos Rodon, he throws an effective slider.

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