Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon enters the 2017 season as a potential X-factor for a team with postseason aspirations. He’ll serve as one of Francisco Rodriguez’ top setup men.
The team has had particular difficulty in finding a consistent solution at setup reliever.
Chamberlain and Feliz struggled during their respective tenures in the Motor City. Elsewhere, Joakim Soria had trouble in the role upon arriving from Texas in a mid-season trade in 2014.
Recently, Detroit had trouble finding a consistent solution as Francisco Rodriguez’ top setup option.
When all was said and done, Bruce Rondon was perhaps the team’s most consistent reliever.
The right-hander didn’t make his 2016 debut until June. However, he allowed just 12 runs the rest of the way in 36.1 innings.
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Not only was Rondon was arguably the team’s most consistent reliever, he was also the club’s best option coming out of the bullpen.
In 37 appearances, the hard-throwing pitcher paced all Detroit bullpen arms with 11.15 strikeouts per nine innings. The next closest reliever was Justin Wilson at 9.97 strikeouts per nine frames.
Rondon also led the way in terms of Tigers relief pitchers with a 15.8 swinging strike percentage.
To top it all off, Bruce Rondon also finished with the lowest SIERA among Detroit relievers with a 2.95 SIERA.
For much of last season, the Tigers had a revolving door of setup relievers. Lowe, Greene, Alex Wilson, Justin Wilson and Rondon all spent time in the role.
While many of those pitchers will see time late in games during the 2017 campaign, more appearances from Rondon should significantly benefit Detroit.
The franchise has had trouble finding relievers with swing-and-miss stuff in seasons past.
As of late, the likes of Alex Wilson and Kyle Ryan have found plenty of success, but Rondon gives the team a different look.
If Bruce Rondon can continue to miss bats and limit runs next season the way he did in 2016, the Detroit Tigers will have an excellent chance of returning to the playoffs with a dependable bullpen.