In advance of the 2014 MLB Draft, we're going to be writing up scouting reports on a number of players who could be on the Twins' radar come June. We're going to start with a player that the Twins have absolutely no chance in drafting: Carlos Rodon.
Rodon is the consensus number one, and barring something entirely unexpected will go to the Astros with the first pick. But just in case the four teams in front of Minnesota forget what day the draft is, or Rodon's name plate somehow falls off of their draft board (literally), here's what you need to know about the best player available in 2014.
School & Player History
Carlos Rodon is a 21-year old junior for North Carolina State University. He's helped lead NC State to back-to-back second place finishes in the Atlantic Coast Conference, posting impressive numbers as a freshman and even better numbers - especially in terms of strikeouts, where he struck out 184 in just 132.1 innings - as a sophomore. So far this season he hasn't done a great deal to change opinions on being the best player available, as he continues to rack up strikeouts and shows that he's able to take steps forward to improve his command.
Rodon's fastball has been clocked as high as 98mph according the scouting reports I've read, with decent movement whether he's dealing the four or two-seamer (lower 90s velocity). On the 20-80 scale, there are believers stating that the fastball is already a 70, with potential to reach a 75. That's a fantastic rating, and when taking into that velocity and movement you're left with a sexy power fastball that has general managers drooling and dreaming of Roger Clemens.
The slider has been called both "the best breaking ball in the class" and "the best secondary pitch in the draft." It carries impressive lateral movement and sits 85 to 87 mph. He's capable of upping the velocity to 91 or so, but the movement decreases proportionally and it turns into something of a cut fastball. Whether he's trying to throw a harder slider or whether it's a legitimate cutter is up for debate, depending on which scouting report you read.
His worst pitch is his changeup, which grades as a potential 55 down the line which is, more or less, "fine." There isn't much movement there now and needs some work, but he already has the confidence to throw it whenever it's called, and with two plus offerings to back it up the change may not need to be much more than a "show me" pitch that can be located.
There seems to be a divide between what people see in Rodon based off of his pitches and how that helps him project as he matures, and what people see simply by judging his body shape and comparing it to what they think a great pitcher's body should look like.
Rodon checks in between 6-1 and 6-3, again depending on which scouting report you read, and 234 pounds. A lot of that weight is in his lower half, which apparently reduces his "projectability" while also being something he uses to his advantage in his step to the plate. Clearly his big lower half isn't that much of a concern, considering he's almost the unanimous choice to go number one, but it's certainly interesting to read all the different takes on what the body looks like and what it means.
Combine all of the above with the fact that Rodon is a 21-year old left hander, and you get something close to what you might dub "the ultimate piece." Will the Twins get an opportunity to draft him? Absolutely not. But he's the best player available in the draft, and it looks like Minnesota will have another opportunity to select a pitcher, so we couldn't avoid him. But congratulations would seem to be in order for Houston.
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