Carlos Rodon, drafted by the Chicago White Sox on June 5, has spent most of the past five weeks working out at N.C. State.
With the signing deadline approaching, Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent recently gave his former star pitcher some advice.
“I told him, ‘Get out of here and go play,’ ” Avent said.
The third overall pick from Holly Springs still listens to his college coach. Rodon was in Chicago on Friday to sign his contract, which includes a $6.582 million bonus.
The bonus is the biggest of this draft class (more than the $6.5 million No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken got from Houston) and $700,000 above his slot value, according to Baseball America.
Rodon’s bonus is the third highest for a pitcher in draft history, according to MLB.com, behind Pittsburgh pitcher Gerrit Cole ($8 million) and Washington pitcher Stephen Strasburg ($7.5 million). Both of those contracts were signed under different draft rules.
Rodon, who went 6-7 with a 2.01 earned run average for the Wolfpack in 2014, had until July 18 to sign with the Sox. The left-hander hasn’t pitched since a 9-4 win against Virginia Tech on May 16.
Avent said Rodon, who is listed as 6-foot-3 and 234 pounds, looks to have slimmed down since the end of the Wolfpack’s season.
“He looks phenomenal,” Avent said. “I asked him what he has been doing because I thought he had been spending all his time fishing.”
Rodon, who helped N.C. State reach the College World Series in 2013, is expected to start his minor-league career with the Class A Winston-Salem Dash, Avent said.
The White Sox fast-tracked first-round pick Chris Sale from college to the pros in 2010. Rodon could be on a similar track.
The White Sox used Sale, also a left-hander, out of the bullpen as a rookie. Rodon made only one relief appearance (his first in 2012) in three seasons at N.C. State.
Avent is confident Rodon can handle the transition.
“He can do anything you want him to,” Avent said.