White Sox P Carlos Rodon Undergoes Tommy John Surgery, Expected Back in 2020

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2019

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carlos Rodon throws against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader in Chicago, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

The Chicago White Sox announced Saturday that starting pitcher Carlos Rodon underwent successful Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.

The team added that Rodon is expected to return during the second half of the 2020 season.

Rodon was off to an up-and-down start this season before getting injured with a 3-2 record, 5.19 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 46 strikeouts in 34.2 innings over seven starts.

Although Rodon's surface numbers were lacking outside of strikeouts, he had a FIP of 3.52, which suggests he was somewhat unlucky this season.

Rodon entered the big leagues as a highly touted prospect after the White Sox selected him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft out of NC State. It didn't take long for the talented lefty to make his debut, as he appeared in 26 games and made 23 starts for Chicago in 2015, going 9-6 with a 3.75 ERA as a rookie.

Injuries and inconsistency have prevented Rodon from replicating those numbers, as he posted an ERA between 4.04 and 4.18 in each of the 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Rodon made 28 starts and pitched 165 innings in 2016, but those still represent his career highs in those categories. Injuries limited him to 69.1 innings in 2017, and then he threw just 120.2 innings last season.

While Rodon is no longer a prospect, he is still just 26 years old, which means there may still be time for him to realize his potential.

He has a long road back from Tommy John surgery, but it is not uncommon for pitchers to return from the procedure even better than they were before it.

Chicago has several quality arms in its system, but results have been mixed in recent years. Lucas Giolito finally seems to be coming into his own this season with a 4-1 record and 3.55 ERA, but Reynaldo Lopez continues to struggle, as he is 3-4 with a 5.58 ERA.

Michael Kopech, who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade, is considered the best of them all, but like Rodon, he underwent Tommy John surgery in September and isn't expected back until next season.

With Rodon on the shelf, the 20-23 White Sox will rely on Giolito, Lopez and veteran Ivan Nova to anchor their starting rotation moving forward in 2019.