The Tigers made it all the way to the World Series last season, in spite of closer Jose Valverde’s considerable struggles. With the veteran reliever still on the free agent market, the Tigers are proceeding with their plan of using 22 year old Bruce Rondon as their closer, even if that idea makes manager Jim Leyland nervous, as Lynn Henning of the Detriot New suggests.
Rondon is the top pitching prospect in the Detriot system and Baseball
He has absolutely elite fastball velocity, occasionally hitting 103 mph and sitting comfortably at 97-100 mph. His secondary stuff is still developing but both his slider and change up are thought to have solid potential. Weight has been an issue for him, however, and Baseball
The other issue that Rondon has to overcome is his control. He can blow batters away with his fastball and fool them with his slider and change giving him the kind of strikeout abilities that team’s want in a closer. Yet, while , he has struck out more than a batter per inning in five minor league seasons, but he has also walked 5.1 per nine. His control improved some in 2012- he walked just 4.4 hitters per nine overall, but he will have to be even better than that to succeed as the Tiger's closer.
Henning suggests that manager Jim Leyland is supportive of the Rondon-as-closer-plan but that he is also more concerned with the risk than GM Dave Dombrowski. Should Rondon falter,
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