Top Five Arms Under 25 the Yankees Should Target This Offseason
While the Yankees could probably put together the talent to land Chris Sale this offseason, GM Brian Cashman has made it pretty clear he doesn’t want to surrender the four or five top prospects it would require to land the White Sox ace.
Chicago does seem like a good bet to hold a fire sale this winter after yet another disappointing season, so presumably they would be willing to listen on all their big league guys. That being the case, one pitcher the Yankees could target as an alternative to Sale is 23-year-old righthander Carlos Rodon.
Rodon put up his second straight season as a solid middle-of-the rotation starter, but there are clear signs that he is on the verge of breaking out as a number one or number two in the near future. This year, Rodon put up a 4.04 ERA and 4.01 FIP in 165 IP, striking out 23.6% of the batters he faced and walking 7.6%.
Baseball-Reference has Rodon as a 1.6 and 1.5 WAR player the last two seasons, while FanGraphs is a little more bullish at 2.0 and 2.7 WAR. In either case, he’s been right in the ballpark of a league average starter. His 104 and 99 ERA+ marks support that assessment.
It is important to remember that Rodon made his major league debut less than a year after being drafted third overall in the 2014 June amateur draft. He didn’t get the luxury of fine tuning his game in the minor leagues, so it seems likely that Rodon still has considerable room to grow.
The 23-year-old’s mid-90’s fastball and slider are already plus offerings, but the area where Rodon has really been making strides recently is his changeup.
He increased his changeup usage from 8.7% to 10.7% from last year to this year, and began throwing even more down the stretch. It has the makings of a third above average offering, which could be what puts Rodon over the top as a true number one or two starter.