In what has been one of the coldest “hot stoves” in recent memory, former Detroit Tiger Bruce Rondon has found a new home within the American League Central Division. The Chicago White Sox signed him to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. Rondon was eligible for arbitration this offseason, however, the Tigers decided to not tender the right-hander thus making him a free agent.
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Rondon was signed by the Detroit Tigers at the age of 17 out of Venezuela. He was considered the number three prospect back in 2012 according to Baseball of America. He was tabbed as the “closer of the future” by the team and seemed to be destined to help the Tigers figure out their ninth-inning woes. But that never really materialized for Rondon and the Tigers, as he struggled with the team since his debut back in 2013.
His fastball has always been electric, routinely hitting triple digits on the radar gun and his ability to strike out batters was at an unbelievable rate of 10.7 K/9 over his career. However, it was his control that did him in as his career walks per nine innings is a hair over four, and he never really had a grip on any type of leverage situation.
Rondon debuted in 2013 appearing in 30 games for the Tigers that season, accumulating a 3.45 ERA striking out 9.4 per nine and walking 3.5. He ended up missing all of the 2014 season after opting to have Tommy John surgery on his elbow. After a dismal return in 2015 (5.45 ERA) he had a career year in 2016 with a 2.97 ERA, striking out a little over 11 batters per nine, and only walking three batters per nine. In 2017 however, Rondon struggled out of the gate which saw him being sent down to the minors just a week into the season, and never really getting on track, only pitching in 15.2 innings with a 10.91 ERA.
An arm like Bruce Rondon’s usually gets a second chance. A guy that can light up a radar gun and control a nasty slider to boot will do that. And with hitters only hitting .143 off of his slider for his career, he was destined to find a club for the 2018 season. We wish Bruce Rondon the best of luck with his new team, except when he pitches against the Tigers of course.