As the American League Champion Detroit Tigers entered Spring Training this year, they did so knowing they wouldn’t have the same closer they did in the past years of success. Jim Leyland still has options to fill that role however. The difference between winning franchises and those that aren’t so successful is the simple fact that those like the Tigers build their system so that one lost player will not kill the season.
In that same way of running their franchise, they are bringing a rookie pitcher by the name of Bruce Rondon to camp with the idea of trying to win the closer role out of Spring Training. That might seem like a daunting task for a young guy but you might want to consider taking a look at Rondon before saying he couldn’t handle the pressure. He has closed many games during his minor league career. This is what he is being and has been groomed for, to be the Tigers closer of the future.
Standing 6’-3” tall and weighing around 275, Rondon could almost yell “boo!” to some hitters and get them to swing and miss. Seriously, while his size is imposing, the ball flying from his fingers is the intimidating part of Rondon. His fast ball regularly clocks over 100 miles per hour, usually around 102. He already is enjoying going after his teammates in live batting practice. That shows the kind of competitive fire that a closer needs. He has all the tools and none of the experience. Given his stuff, I can’t see why he wouldn’t win the job right away.