He’s like Happy Gilmore. He’s like the alcoholic uncle trying to bowl at his nephew’s birthday. He’s like a SUV on Firestone tires. Yes, potential Detroit Tigers closer Bruce Rondon is all power with limited control right now.
Control certainly has to be an issue. With the closer position, Rondon could be called into games on consecutive days and he couldn’t be fresh if he’s taking 20-25 pitches to get out of an inning the way he has so far in spring training. Today, for example, he threw 22 pitches in walking two batters and striking out two—further confirming his Bruce Banner-esque ability to hone his raw power at times, but not always.
Like any excursion to Applebee’s, there’s optimism met with cautious concern when it comes to Rondon. No doubt the 275-pound Venezuelan lumberjack has electric stuff that has Tigers fans reminiscing about a simpler time when a non-injured Joel Zumaya could ignite Comerica Park with his 102-103 mph fastball in the late innings. However, walks and control issues tend to be more detrimental and drama inducing when it comes to protecting late-inning leads–way more frequently you’ll see a closer give up two walks and a long ball rather than giving up two singles and a long ball in a blown save.
Rondon, don’t get me wrong, I think you definitely have what it takes to be the closer in Motown. Yet I think that you may have to go through some growing pains and some frustrating outings to get you to that point.
Justin Gawel is a coney enthusiast who mainly writes for Rant Sports about the Detroit Tigers. Follow him on Google+ for all of his article postings.