Rondon Is A Big Man With A Big Fastball

Tigers' righty brings the heat





DETROIT—Velocity has never been a problem for righthander Bruce Rondon.
The 6-foot-3, 270-pounder can touch 100 mph with his fastball, and it sits comfortably in the 98-99 mph range. The problem has been controlling where that fastball ends up. Last season, for example, excitement over his 61 strikeouts in 40 innings at low Class A West Michigan was tempered by his 34 walks, 11 wild pitches and five hit batters.

Rondon seems to have put everything together this year and his status as a top pitching prospect has risen as a result. Rondon posted a 1.93 ERA in 22 appearances for high Class A Lakeland, earning a mid-June promotion to Double-A Erie by striking out 34 and walking just 10 in 23 innings.

"With us he was very good at throwing all three of his pitches for strikes," Lakeland pitching coach Mike Maroth said. "As the year went on, he became more confident and consistent. He wasn't all over the place with his fastball, and he wasn't missing with his secondary pitches."

That wasn't the case in April, when the 21-year-old Rondon had a 4.50 ERA in seven appearances. He collected a win and three saves but had four walks and seven strikeouts in eight innings. Things seemed to click in May, as Rondon gave up just four hits in nine innings and had one walk to go with 10 strikeouts, a big reason he converted seven save opportunities. And the native of Venezuela kept rolling in June, allowing two hits and two walks in six innings that resulted in five saves and the promotion to Erie. It also earned him a Futures Game selection.

TIGER TALES

• The Tigers released third baseman Adelyn Santa, a native of the Dominican Republic who received a $750,000 signing bonus during the international signing period last year at age 16. He never played a game for the organization.

• Outfielder Avisail Garcia was promoted to Double-A Erie on July 4. Garcia, 21, hit .289/.324/.447 with eight homers, 36 RBIs and 14 steals for Lakeland before his promotion.