The Chicago White Sox may have gotten a steal when they snagged N.C. State lefty Carlos Rondon with the third pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. Now, the Sox can officially see what the 21-year-old starting pitcher can do, as the two sides have reportedly agreed to a $6.45 million deal.
Rondon opened the season as the presumed top pick in the draft, but control issues knocked him down a bit. Still, he has the kind of tools that make scouts drool. The White Sox have a very thin farm system, so their shiny new toy will undoubtedly become their top prospect instantly. He will likely be assigned to High-A Winston Salem this week and should be a fast-moving prospect. There is a chance he sees the major leagues next season.
The White Sox signed Rondon to an above-slot deal, as the No. 3 pick’s value was $5.721 million. The $6.45 million deal he got is the most given out by a team to a draftee so far this year. The Miami Marlins previously gave No. 2 pick, Texas high school righty Tyler Kolek, $6 million.
Rondon is 6-3 and 234 pounds and dominated ACC competition as a freshman. He led N.C. State to the College World Series in 2013 as a sophomore and looked unhittable at times. But in 2014 he missed his spots too frequently and might have just been over-thinking things as he was dealing with the weight of being the top prospect in the country.
His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s and can touch 97 mph. It’s a plus pitch and given the fact that he’s a lefty, that’s a big deal. His best offering is a wipeout slider, which is widely considered the best pitch in the 2014 MLB Draft. It sits in the mid-80s with incredible movement and it gives both left-handed and right-handed hitters problems. His change is above average as well, it sits in the low-80s and he can throw it for strikes at any point in the count.
Rondon needs to refine his delivery a bit and clean up his motion. If he does that it should clear up some of his control issues. He will undoubtedly move through the White Sox system quickly and if he can harness his control problems he’ll likely be a great big leaguer for a long time.