Is it conceivable that grizzled veteran manager Jim Leyland could anoint a 22 year old rookie as his closer?
Fireballer Bruce Rondon is currently in the conversation as a potential candidate to fill the Detroit Tigers vacant closer role. Rondon made his minor league debut as an 18 year old in 2008 and hasn’t looked back blowing away hitters with his blazing 100 mph plus fastball.
Rondon pitched at three different minor league levels last season and is now on the cusp of a bullpen spot with the big club. Here is a breakdown of the impressive season Rondon had.
Rondon pitched 23.1 innings for the Lakeland Flying Tigers single A advanced team recording a 1.93 ERA with 15 saves and 34 strikeouts.
Rondon then continued on to the double A Erie Sea Wolves where he pitched 21.2 innings amassing a 0.83 ERA with 12 saves and 23 punch outs.
Rondon then continued his trek to the Triple A Toledo Mud Hens were he took the bump for eight innings cruising to a 2.25 ERA earning two saves and nine whiffs in his short stint.
Rondon seized the opportunity in 2012 pitching a combined 53 innings with a 1.53 era and 29 saves. The man with the cannon struck out 66 hitters in 53 innings across three minor league levels. In his four-year minor league career Rondon has 213 strikeouts in 196 innings pitched.
Obviously those are the numbers that have Leyland and company excited about the prospect of having Rondon as the last man standing in the pen for years to come. A strong spring training may be all Rondon needs to claim the role.