Carlos Rodon has been in the spotlight since he was a star prep pitcher, combining to go 23-2 in three years at Holly Springs (N.C.) High School.
The attention and scrutiny followed the left-hander to North Carolina State, and Rodon's big-time success with the Wolfpack made him the consensus No. 1 overall pick heading into Thursday's First-Year Player draft.
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Rodon "plunged" to No. 3 overall, where the White Sox snapped him up Thursday night.
"I wouldn't say there was disappointment," Rodon said on a conference call Friday. "I would say motivation. I got picked by a great club with a lot of history. Looking forward to it."
Rodon sounded a little weary during his talk with reporters, but maybe it was more a sigh of relief that the long process of being eyeballed by major-league scouts is finally over.
Instead of being anxious to immediately sign with the Sox and get moving toward the majors, the 21-year-old Rodon is going to milk the moment as long as possible.
"I'm not really sure," Rodon said when asked how soon he'd like to put his name on a contract. "That's later down the road, in a month or so. We'll figure that out. I'm still trying to enjoy this moment, spend time with my family. Enjoy the whole thing and let it sink in."
Even though he has much more polish than the two high school pitchers drafted ahead of him -- Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek -- Rodon was viewed as somewhat of a disappointment this season while going 6-7 with a 2.01 ERA and 117 strikeouts over 98⅔ innings for N.C. State.
"My performance this year didn't live up to expectations and I guess that happens sometimes," said Rodon, a 6-foot-3, 235-pounder. "Baseball's a tough sport. It's a game of failure, so you fail more than you succeed. It's a tough game and I had some tough breaks this season, but that's baseball. I still get to play some more games this year and we'll see how that goes."
Know for his fierce competitive streak, maybe all of the outside attention got to Rodon this season.
"It can be a little nerve racking, but that comes with the talent," he said. "The expectations come with all that when you're a good player. You have to expect it yourself because all eyes are watching and you're going to get criticized for every little thing you do wrong. That's part of it. You've go to love it and hate it."
While he was a bit subdued Friday, Rodon is happy the Sox came calling.
"Most interactions is watching them on TV and watching Jose Abreu hit some bombs, that's about it," Rodon said. "It's a great team. I think they have a postseason run in them this year if they keep on playing well. They've got (Jose) Quintana, they've got Chris Sale, Jose Abreu at first, and then they've got Adam Eaton in center, he's playing pretty well.
"Alexei Ramirez is a good player at short. I have to check some other players; I know (Tyler) Flowers behind the plate, he can hit really well as a catcher. They have a good club."
If Rodon follows Sale's path in 2010, he might be able to join the Sox later in the season and pitch out of the bullpen.
"I really don't know," Rodon said. "That's up to the organization. I'm just taking in the moment right now. I haven't really thought about those things. I'm just trying to figure out where everything's going to go."