New York Yankees Prospect Watch – Francisco Rondon
Ever since I started taking a look at the multitude of players in the New York Yankees’ farm system, I’ve generally picked players who have very high upsides. I feel that today, I should take a look at a player who could be called up one day, but doesn’t have the stuff that would make them a quality prospect. Let’s look at Francisco Rondon.
This is Bruce Rondon. He plays for the Tigers. Don’t confuse the two. (Image: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Rondon has been in the system for some time now. He was signed as a free agent by the Yankees on February 25, 2006. You may assume that he’s currently an older player, but keep in mind that he was signed when he was 18. He’s 25 years old right now. He is a reliever for the team, and is currently playing in Double-A Trenton.
Francisco Rondon – not to be confused by Detroit Tiger’s prospect Bruce Rondon – has a fastball that sits in the low 90s. He can dial it up as high as 94 mph. His fastball reportedly has great movement and can strike out many batters. Scouts say that he also has a plus slider that is almost major league ready. He is also a left-handed pitcher, something that every team loves to have.
What worries me the most about Rondon is that he is currently struggling in Trenton. Through eight games, he boasts a record of 2-2 with a 7.67 ERA. The strikeout numbers are there (22 in 29.1 IP), but unfortunately so are the walks (21 in 29.1 IP). This tells me that he doesn’t have great control on his pitches so far this year. It’s still relatively early in the season, so he has time to fix his control, but as of now, it’s something that should be looked at with a watchful eye.
Scouting reports on Rondon say that his biggest problem is leaving the ball up in the zone. As we all know, when you leave a ball up, chances are that it will get crushed by a power hitter. This explains the high ERA. He also has trouble attacking batters with his pitches, primarily his slider. If you want to play in the major leagues, you can’t be afraid to go after the potent players in the opposing lineup.
While Rondon is having a tough time in AA so far, he does have a good track record at other minor league levels. This leads me to believe that he has some sort of potential, but he needs to adjust to the better offense associated with AA ball. To be completely honest, I don’t think Rondon will ever make it to the Bronx. I think he will either be traded away, or fizzle out into obscurity. If he does get traded though, I wouldn’t expect him to even reach the majors until 2017 at the earliest. By this time, he’ll be pushing 30 years old, so it’s going to be tough.