Draft 2014: White Sox draft LHP Carlos Rodon No. 3

LOS ANGELES -- Imagine the White Sox moving forward with this current rebuilding program, featuring a rotation of southpaws Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, John Danks and now, potentially, Carlos Rodon.

Now think about Rodon, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound left-handed standout from North Carolina State, making a push out of the bullpen during a late-season 2014 playoff run.

OK, maybe that thought process goes deeper than the average hypothetical situation. But with the White Sox selecting Rodon at No. 3 overall in the first round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on Thursday, suddenly last year's 99-loss nightmare that had them picking this high seems a bit more palatable.

2014 Draft Central

While it was widely assumed that Brady Aiken was going No. 1 to Houston, which he did, many, including the White Sox, thought Rodon would go No. 2 to the Marlins. Hard-throwing high school right-hander Tyler Kolek instead ended up being the Marlins' pick, leaving Rodon as the consensus choice for the White Sox. He has been their consensus choice for two years.

Rodon posted a 6-7 record with a 2.01 ERA this past year for the Wolfpack, fanning 117 and walking 31 over 98 2/3 innings. The 21-year-old was named All-ACC First Team, holding opponents to a .229 average over 14 starts. He finished 25-10 with a 2.24 ERA, eight complete games, a school-record 436 strikeouts and a .201 opponents' average over his three years with N.C. State.

White Sox scouting director Doug Laumann mentioned the 6 2/3 scoreless innings Rodon threw against Cuba in last year's World Cup tournament, where he struck out 11, as one of his most impressive moments.

"He stepped up and threw as well as anybody could possibly expect from somebody in that setting," Laumann said.

MLB.com's Prospect Watch lists Rodon's scouting grades as a 65 for his fastball, a 70 for his slider, a 50 for his changeup, a 50 for control and a 65 overall.

That report states Rodon can overpower hitters with two pitches: a 91-94 mph fastball reaching 97 and a wipeout slider that hits the mid 80s. Laumann watched Rodon buckle left-handed hitters with that slider, and use it just as effectively against right-handed hitters.

"When they can bury a slider on the back foot of a right-handed hitter and get it in under his hands, then you know a guy has a really good one," Laumann said. "It's a dominant pitch. That's not to take away anything from his fastball and changeup, which are also plus pitches."

In the second round, the White Sox took right-hander Spencer Adams from White County High School in Georgia with the No. 44 overall selection.

The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com pregame show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at noon.

Based on additional comments made by White Sox assistant scouting director Nick Hostetler, Rodon sounds as if he brings more than vast pitching skills to the mound.

"He's an aggressive kid. He's a tough-nosed kid," Hostetler said recently of Rodon. "He's a very ... I don't know if bulldog is the right word, but he's in charge.

"You know he's in charge. When he's on the mound, he takes the ball and he controls the game. He's like that on the field, off the field. He's got a makeup that a manager is going to love running out there every fifth day."

Scott Boras serves as Rodon's representative, and the White Sox have not selected Boras' clients in recent Drafts. But general manager Rick Hahn, executive vice president Ken Williams and Laumann all have stated that they would take the best player available at No. 3, regardless of representation or whether he had college or high school experience.

This third overall pick is slotted at $5,721,500, although there was talk that Rodon, who has been projected as the No. 1 overall pick for some time, could want as much as the No. 1 slot money of $7,922,100. The White Sox have a bonus pool of $9,509,700.

While Laumann didn't address the possibility of spending over slot, he seemed completely confident they would get Rodon signed. In fact, Laumann talked about how important it was to get Rodon comfortable with the organization as the first step in the development process and never once referenced any doubt on him being part of the White Sox.

"Rick and Scott Boras have a fairly good relationship," Laumann said. "But we are excited No. 1, knowing how competitive this kid is, how important it is to be comfortable. We've laid a lot of ground work, spent a lot of time, spent time meeting with him. I'm confident we'll get it done. I'd be surprised if it doesn't happen."

One possible way to get Rodon in the fold quickly is the same approach taken with Chris Sale in 2010. Sale was selected with the 13th pick overall that year, and Williams and his staff recognized that Sale could provide needed help out of the bullpen in that same season. When the White Sox selected Sale, Williams told him, 'Congratulations, Chris. How quickly can you get ready?'

Sale made his Major League debut in relief two months after his pick, after pitching 10 1/3 innings combined for Class A Winston-Salem and Triple-A Charlotte. Sale was limited to 23 1/3 innings for the White Sox and 136 2/3 innings overall for the season when factoring in work at Florida Golf Coast University.

Adding more work to the arm of a college pitcher is far from a lock, especially as the organization tries to get him acclimated to big league life.

"We think he's an extremely talented pitcher, and he certainly could be a guy that is on a so-called fast track," Laumann said. "It would be somewhat unfair to say he's on the same track as Chris Sale. You never know. The most important thing is get started on getting him comfortable with our organization."

Of note is that Marty Warren, the father of Rodon's girlfriend, pitched in the White Sox's system in 1985-86.

So there is an established Rodon-White Sox connection. Their highest pick since selecting outfielder Harold Baines No. 1 overall in 1977 has a chance to make a far greater and more immediate impact.

Right-hander Adams selected in second round

Draft Report: Spencer Adams, HS Pitcher

LOS ANGELES -- The White Sox had three really good names they were focusing upon when the 44th overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft arrived late Thursday night.

Spencer Adams, a right-handed pitcher out of White County High School in Georgia was the top name in that group.

"He's a real athletic kid," said White Sox assistant scouting director Nick Hostetler of the White Sox's second-round pick. "He's an exciting player: projectable but also shows now stuff."

2014 Draft Central

After selecting Carlos Rodon, a left-handed hurler from North Carolina State who might be the most Major League-ready of any pitcher in the Draft, at No. 3 in the first round, Adams gave the White Sox a pretty good Day 1 pitching haul with just two selections. As an example, the final Mock Draft from MLB.com's Jim Callis Thursday had Adams projected as a first-rounder, going at No. 22 to the Dodgers.

MLB.com's Prospect Watch ranked Adams at No. 27 overall, with the three-sport athlete showing enough athleticism to be able to dunk on the basketball court. With a fastball sitting in the low 90s and topping out at 96 mph with excellent life, Adams finished this past season with a 4-2 record and 0.72 ERA over 58 1/3 innings. He struck out 90, walked 11 and allowed 27 hits.

Adams played deep into the basketball season, so it took him a little while to get his legs. But Hostetler and White Sox director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann saw Adams pitch impressively during a rivalry game late in the season.

"His makeup is off the charts," Hostetler said.

Where Rodon could push for Major League time out of the bullpen as soon as this season -- much like Chris Sale in 2010 after he signed -- don't look for Adams in Chicago any time soon.

"We're happy he got to us," Hostetler said. "It's a very, very exciting addition based off adding as many quality arms as we possibly can.

"There are some mechanical things we can fix and give him help. But he's so athletic and made adjustments in-game. His breaking ball is plus, his fastball velocity is 92 to 96, with life and he has a definite feel for the change. He's got the overall package of stuff with projection."

The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com pregame show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at noon.

White Sox planning resumed for second-day picks after the team received immediate rave reviews for their selections of Adams and Rodon. Adams is a Georgia recruit, but the White Sox are confident they will sign him just as they are with Rodon.

They are equally as confident that the White Sox exceptional track record of developing pitchers, from the Minor Leagues to pitching coach Don Cooper, will work wonders with these latest high-talent additions.

"He was excited, his whole crew was excited," said Hostetler of Adams' reaction when the White Sox took him in the second round, with a projected slot bonus of $1,282,700. "Our scout was extremely excited. We aren't used to drafting this high, but we feel like we got a first-round talent in the second round."