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The Yankees Shouldn’t Be Too Concerned About Rotation Member

In Carlos Rodón‘s first two starts of the Spring, he has surrendered three home runs and has yet to hit peak velocity. The recent events have left many fans of the New York Yankees worried that another season of struggle from the left-hander is coming. However, other telling signs about the Yankees number two inspire hope. Rodón is developing a new effective pitch and tweaking his mechanics for sustainability and deception. If you put these two prominent factors together and some other minor details, Rodón could be on the cusp of a strong 2024.

Carlos Rodón Has Looked Shaky

Rodon’s New Pitching Mechanics

Despite giving up three home runs in spring training, Rodón has looked better than reported. He has better command of his fastball and pitches in general due to a change in mechanics. Last year, Rodón was more open when driving towards the plate when starting his delivery. This year, he has been more closed off, allowing him to hide the ball better from the batter. This also has another effect: the ability to create more torque in his legs when throwing. Think of it like a springboard; the more you cork the spring, the more power it has when exploding. It is the same with Rodón; the more he turns his lift leg towards third base, the more weight he holds back to be used later in an explosive delivery.

The more any pitcher can use their legs to generate velocity, the less likely they are for an arm injury. Rodón himself is no exception to arm injuries as he suffered from shoulder and Tommy John surgery in the past. He also arrived into last year’s spring training with a forearm strain in his pitching arm to better lessen the load on his arm. It may be concerning for Yankee fans to see him struggle so early on, but it is better to learn his new mechanics in Spring than in the regular season. The upside is too great not to try these new mechanics, as it could mean Rodon stays healthy for an entire season.

Taking a Note from Yankee Legends

Rodón is also working on a new pitch, the cutter, which many Yankee legends have used heavily in their careers to achieve great success. Andy Pettitte was a notable left-hander who used the cutter as an out pitch or pitch to induce weak contact. Nestor Cortes Jr. is also using the pitch and has done so to great effect. One could even say that pitch has made Cortes’s career with the Yankees. It is an effective pitch because it can break the bats of right-handed hitters and get easy outs. At the same time, the cutter can also be used as a strikeout pitch to deceive hitters by missing bats, while an average four-seen fastball would get squared up and hit.

Rodón has already shown good signs so far using this pitch, as he was primarily a two-pitch pitcher last year. Now, he has a third pitch to help him induce soft contact; Rodón may be in a good position on opening day.

Yankee fans are also concerned about his velocity being relatively low by his standards. However, fans should remember that it is only spring training, and pitchers must build up before the season. Another thing fans should remember is that Gerrit Cole took some velocity off his fastball last year. How is this relevant? It allowed Cole to command his pitches better while protecting his arm.

Final Analysis on Carlos Rodón

As much as Yankee fans are nervous about Rodón, they should remember it is only spring training. There are no apparent signs of injury, and he has arrived in good shape. As Rodón is learning how to pitch in a completely different way than he has in the past, fans have to be patient. These changes take time, even from the game’s best, but they should not cause massive concern. If Rodón can make these adjustments, the Yankees may have the best one-two punch in baseball.

Main Photo: © Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports


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