If Carlos Rodon can match his rapid ascent from the minors to the majors, Chris Sale might just have a new karaoke partner.
There has been speculation long before he was drafted third overall by the White Sox on Thursday that Rodon, a left-handed junior pitcher from North Carolina State, could reach the majors this season.
Thought to be the most polished pitcher in the draft, a talent one scout said is already a “top-10 pitcher on the planet,” some believe Rodon, like Sale before him in 2010, could pitch out of the White Sox bullpen this season.
Rodon said Friday afternoon he doesn’t know if the organization thinks he’s ready for the majors this season. But the 21-year-old, who similar to Sale has a passion for karaoke, admits it would be — ahem — music to his ears were he to follow the two-time White Sox All-Star’s path.
“I’m not sure of the type of music he’s into,” Rodon said on a conference call. “But anything Beastie Boys, I’m pretty good at.”
“That would be kind of cool (to emulate Sale).”
Rodon’s slider and a fastball that returned to mid-90s velocity in the second half of this season could get the 6-foot-3, 234-pounder to the majors quickly.
The left-hander has been in the national spotlight as a potential No. 1 overall pick since 2013, when he struck out 184 batters in 132 1/3 innings for North Carolina State. He followed up a trip to the 2013 College World Series with a dominating performance against Cuba last July for Team USA, striking out 14.
The Miami native said a 6-7 campaign with a 2.01 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings in 2014 didn’t match expectations.
He also noted that life in the spotlight has been interesting.
“You get a little nervous, and it’s a little nerve-wracking,” Rodon said. “But that comes with the talent, the expectations come with all that when you’re a good player. You have to expect that all eyes are watching and you’re going to get criticized, every little thing you do wrong. That’s part of it, and you’ve got to love it and hate it.”
While not being picked No. 1 offers him motivation instead of disappointment, Rodon said he’s excited to play for the White Sox. He cited Chicago and the team’s history as reasons. Rodon also has watched some games this season and has enjoyed watching Jose Abreu hit home runs.
He believes the White Sox, who enter Friday with a 31-30 record, have serious potential this season before he rattled off the names of Abreu, Jose Quintana, Adam Eaton, Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Flowers and Sale.
“It’s a great team,” Rodon said. “I think they have a postseason run in them this year. They’re still playing well.
“They have got a good club.”
Whether or not he could be part of the 2014 team remains to be seen. He still has to sign and said it’s up to the club whether or not he pitches in the majors, but he hasn’t put much thought into either.
Same goes for any potential duets with Sale, who late last month was featured on TMZ lip-synching Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” Sale later vowed the publicity would only make his karaoke habit stronger.
Rodon said he’d leave the song choice to Sale if they get the chance.
“I don’t know,” Rodon said with a laugh. “It’d be up to him.”