Bruce Rondon | Pitcher | #43
2014 salary: Pre-arbitration
2013 statistics: 3.45 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 28.2 IP, 2 HR, 11 BB, 30 K, 3.45 BB/9, 9.42 K/9
Projected role: Setup
Bruce Rondon’s arm is undeniable. He can throw 100 and he’s been tabbed as a future closer. That said, issues with said arm cost him the end of 2013 (and quite possibly cost the Tigers a World Series appearance). Any young pitcher who throws a combo of 100 MPH fastballs and sliders is a huge injury concern, and for the moment, it’s good news that the flexor strain he was diagnosed with isn’t more sinister.
Rondon appears healthy now (and thinner!) and is putting together a solid spring, and the Tigers will need that to carry over to the regular season. The club would undoubtedly like him to be their primary right-handed setup man. For him to take the next step, he’ll need to work on his command and, importantly, handle lefties better – they OPS’d .873 against him last year, a big difference from the .608 righties put up. He’s got the fastball/slider/changeup combo to be very successful in the majors; he just has to get it all together and stay healthy.
Rondon still has a lot to learn at the big league level. For 2014, he’ll likely get his fair share of strikeouts. If he can keep his walks down, he’ll be successful enough and do some good work for Detroit, but he’s still only 23 and learning to harness his own power.