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Bruce Rondon hit 100 mph “a couple times” in spring debut

Feb 24, 2013, 4:31 PM EDT

bruce rondon getty Getty Images

The Tigers let Jose Valverde walk this winter — he’s still a free agent — and are considering turning closer duties over to rookie righty Bruce Rondon.

Rondon has logged only eight total innings above the Double-A level and has a troubling 5.1 career BB/9 in the minors. But the Detroit coaching staff loves his fastball velocity and the 22-year-old did pretty well Saturday afternoon in his Grapefruit League debut.

Rondon allowed a double and a walk but struck out two Blue Jays hitters and wound up with a scoreless frame. And there’s this from MLB.com’s Jason Beck:

Rondon has reportedly hit 103 mph with his fastball several times in the minor leagues. Which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to have success at the next level. But it’s certainly something to build around.

  1. chacochicken - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Not bad but 100 mph does not a closer make…

    • historiophiliac - Feb 24, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      I still think DD did not pick up a closer yet b/c he’s waiting to see how it shakes out w/ Brian Wilson. In the meantime, he’s gonna season Rondon. If Wilson comes back well in a couple of months, I think he’ll try to sign him. If Wilson doesn’t, I expect DD will be making a trade at some point in the season.

    • shwoogy1 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:57 PM

      Pitcher decent he be Yoda says.

      • jjschiller - Feb 25, 2013 at 8:55 AM

        Uh.. that’s Aristophanes, dude. Not gibberish. It’s a pretty commonly copied phrasing, over, oh, the last, oh, 2500 years.

      • jjschiller - Feb 25, 2013 at 8:56 AM

        And also, if you’re going to show everyone your ass, at least be funny about it. That was terrible.

      • shwoogy1 - Feb 25, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        Hey JJschiller, go back to ironing your pocket protector. No one cares what you think, so leave your comments about my comments to yourself, doushnozzle.

  2. cosanostra71 - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Impressive.

  3. jlovenotjlo - Feb 24, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    I’m no pitching coach, but if I were I’d like to see a 4-5 mph loss in exchange for some improved control.

  4. chill1184 - Feb 24, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Very nice

  5. Kevin Gillman - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    5.1 BB per 9 in his Minor League career tells me he still can’t control that fastball, and iof a pitcher can’t do that, the 103 MPH means nothing.

    • detroitr1 - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:53 AM

      I watched him pitch against Toronto and he can change locations/speed with his fastball…but he was clearly too amped up and over throwing. If he gets that keyed up in ST, then he might really lose control of his fastball in a closer situation during the regular season. But overall, his stuff is pretty lethal if he can settle down.

      • Kevin Gillman - Feb 25, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        Don’t get me wrong, I am not doubting Rondon’s ability, I have heard about him. But I surely would not even think about using him as a closer right off the gate. Very few can do it, and it just makes me think that Brian Wilson will be there for the taking for you guys in May, or June.

  6. shwoogy1 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    The real question is does it have movement? Kyle Farnsworth could throw that fast too but he threw the dreaded straight ball and got/gets crushed frequently. Just because you can throw fast doesn’t mean you are any good.

  7. joerymi - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    I feel like the Bruce Rondon saga is a bigger story than it ought to be. It might actually be that a franchise is getting away from this “saves” fetish baseball is dealing with (Maybe). Mixing and matching to find the strongest option at the most optimal time may be what they try.

    As far as Rondon, he feels almost like an all or nothing type. He will either be a shutdown reliever or a total bust, with little middle ground. Could be way off, but that is the sense I get.

  8. natslady - Feb 25, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    I hope he has options. The Nats have one of these, Henry Rodriguez. FB over 100, nasty slider–never knows where either one is going…

  9. bkh405 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    It worked well for Jordan Walden a couple years back…err…

  10. djpostl - Feb 25, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Ladies and gentlmen..your next Joel Zumaya

  11. thebadguyswon - Feb 25, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    That’s awesome. But word is he can’t hit the broadside of a crab boat.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 25, 2013 at 8:54 PM

      Well, I guess his aim is better than JA Happ’s.

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