I'm glad this front office still has the ability to surprise. Josh Fields went off the board first pick and the Cubs went with former Cleveland #7 prospect, 24 year old, Hector Rondon.
Rondon made it as far as AAA in 2010 but has had some injuries since and has pitched just 10 innings. He had TJ surgery following that season, then fractured his elbow in rehab, but appears to be healthy now. He had been throwing extremely well in Arizona late last season and in Venezuela, touching 98 mph. Rondon had received an invite to Indians spring training as well, so he was a guy they had still had hopes for as soon as this season. That potential to be MLB ready -- and useful -- was probably a key factor when choosing him over someone like Braulio Lara.
Rondon hasn't stayed healthy the last three years, but talked to scouts who saw him throwing hard in Venezuela. Not surprised he went high.
Before the injury, Rondon had a plus fastball that he threw at 96 mph and, just as importantly, he's athletic and repeats his delivery well, helping him pitch with good command. Rondon also showed an above average change-up. His slider needs work but Rondon is more than just a RP prospect. When healthy he projected as a mid-rotation prospect.
Jed Hoyer gave his thoughts,
“If you go back and look, he was a really good prospect,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “We’ve been watching him in Venezuela this winter. He’s been throwing the ball really well. He’s got a great arm.
“We felt we could capitalize on the fact that he’s healthy now and throwing really well. Hopefully he can re-capture what made him a . . . top prospect.”
Now for the bad news... The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Starling Peralta. The Cubs took a calculated risk leaving Peralta exposed because he had only pitched in low A ball. The Diamondbacks will have to carry him all season, not an easy feat consider they expect to contend.
Peralta showed a 96 mph fastball as a starter and flashed an occasional plus slider. A scout I spoke with told me he saw him as a reliever down the road, and he'll get an early start on that this spring. We'll follow him and see if he sticks. The Cubs would obviously like to have him back.
In the minor league phase of the draft, the Cubs lost OF Michael Burgess. Burgess is a former 3 outcome player who had to sell out for power, but seemed to try and round out his game a bit more in AA last year. He was not a top 30 prospect with the Cubs and probably not a top 50 guy, but there is some talent there.
The Cubs also lost Matthew Cerda, a utility infielder prospect with tremendous plate discipline but a questionable bat and glove.
They also lost Alvido Jimenez from their AZ Rookie League team. Jimenez put up some solid numbers but is 21 and has yet to make it out of the complex leagues.
Filed under: Rule 5 Draft