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Wolfpack duo, ECU pitcher go early in MLB draft

NCSUDUKE10-SP-041114-RTW
Robert Willett - Robert Willett - rwillett@newsobserver.com
N.C. State pitcher Carlos Rodon works from the mound against Duke on Friday, April 11, 2014.

More Information

  • Triangle top picks

    Carlos Rodon became just the fourth Triangle high school product taken among the first three picks in a major league draft.

    PickNameYearSchool
    1.Josh Hamilton1999Athens Drive
    2.Paul Shuey1992Millbrook HS/UNC
    3,Barry Foote1970Smithfield-Selma
    3,Carlos Rodon2014Holly Springs/N.C. State


  • Top 10 picks

    Pick POS Player School MLB Team
    1LHPBrady AikenCathedral Catholic HS (CA)Houston Astros
    2RHPTyler KolekShepherd HS (TX)Miami Marlins
    3LHPCarlos RodonN.C. StateChicago White Sox
    4CKyle SchwarberIndianaChicago Cubs
    5SSNick GordonOlympia HS (FL)Minnesota Twins
    6OFAlex JacksonRancho Bernardo HS (CA)Seattle Mariners
    7RHPAaron NolaLSUPhiladelphia Phillies
    8LHPKyle FreelandEvansville (IN)Colorado Rockies
    9RHPJeff HoffmanEast CarolinaToronto Blue Jays
    10OFMichael ConfortoOregon StateNew York Mets



The season didn’t work out the way N.C. State wanted it to but the Major League Baseball draft did on Thursday night.

Pitcher Carlos Rodon and shortstop Trea Turner both went in the top 13 picks. Rodon went No. 3 to the Chicago White Sox and Turner went 10 picks later to the San Diego Padres. They were two of the first eight college players taken in the draft.

The Toronto Blue Jays made East Carolina pitcher Jeff Hoffman the No. 9 pick.

Rodon, who grew up in Holly Springs, is only the fourth player from the Triangle to go in the top 3 and first since Raleigh’s Josh Hamilton went No. 1 overall in 1999.

The pair of juniors led the Wolfpack to its first College World Series appearance in 45 years in 2013. N.C. State stumbled to 32-23 this past season and missed the NCAA tournament.

Rodon, a power left-handed pitcher, went 6-7 with a 2.01 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 98.2 innings this season.

The White Sox have a recent history of fast-tracking college pitchers to the majors. Chris Sale, the 13th overall pick out of Florida Gulf Coast in 2010, made his big-league debut the same season.

Dan Plesac, the former major-league pitcher from N.C. State and an analyst for MLB Network, said during the draft broadcast that Rodon was a safe and polished pick and said he could be on the same path as Sale.

“He may be the quickest to the big leagues in the 2014 draft,” Plesac said.

At No. 3, Rodon became the first Wolfpack player taken in the top 10 of the draft.

This is the second time through the draft for Rodon, who dropped to the 16th round in 2011 after an off performance during his senior season at Holly Springs High School.

After that draft day disappointment, Rodon vowed to prove his worth.

“I want to show them that I’m worth what I said or that I’m not that 16th-rounder,” Rodon said then. “I think I should be in the first-round caliber group and this is going to push me to work harder.”

Rodon finished his college career with a 25-10 record, a 2.24 ERA and a school-record 436 strikeouts.

Hoffman had his junior season cut short and underwent Tommy John surgery before the draft. He is expected to be out 15 months with the elbow injury but the big right-hander (6-foot-4, 192 pounds) went 6-4 for the Pirates this season.

MLB Network’s Peter Gammons called Hoffman, the highest draft pick from ECU in any sport, a “gamble” but one that could pay off for the Blue Jays.

“He is a special guy,” Gammons said during the broadcast. “It’s very clear when you see him pitch he wants to be a power pitcher and he really goes after people.”

Turner set school records for stolen bases in a season (57 in 2012) and career (117). He hit .321 this season and led the Pack with eight home runs.

A 20th-round selection out of high school in 2011, the only player in school history picked earlier in the draft than Turner is Rodon.

MLB Network’s John Hart called Turner “one of the best college players in the country this season.”

“This is a middle infielder that can absolutely fly and he impacts the game with his legs,” Hart said.

Giglio: 919-829-8938
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