Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Five Potential Backup Closing Candidates

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Mar 2, 2017; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon (43) throws a pitch during the fourth inning of a MLB spring training baseball gameagainst the Pittsburgh Pirates at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2017; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon (43) throws a pitch during the fourth inning of a MLB spring training baseball gameagainst the Pittsburgh Pirates at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Feb 28, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; A multiple exposure photo of Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon (43) pitching in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

Bruce Rondon
Throws: Right-Handed
Major League Innings: 96
Major League Saves: Six
Career WAR: 0.8

Long term, Bruce Rondon and Joe Jimenez are the most likely candidates to take over for Francisco Rodriguez.

Rondon gets the nod here based on his excellent performance to close out 2016.

While the flame-throwing right-hander wasn’t on Detroit’s Opening Day roster, he made quick work of batters in the minors (12.5 strikeouts per nine innings, 3.74 ERA) before making the jump to the Majors in the middle of June.

From that point on, Rondon was arguably Brad Ausmus most dependable and dominant reliever.

Over the span of 36.1 innings, the 25-year-old missed a significant number of bats.

He punched out 11.15 hitters per nine innings while logging a 15.8 swinging strike percentage.

Both numbers paced Detroit by a significant margin.

In terms of strikeouts per nine innings, Justin Wilson finished closest

Meanwhile, Shane Greene was the closest to Rondon in terms of swinging strike percentage, checking in with a 12.7 number.

Rondon only has six career saves in the big leagues, but he certainly has the stuff to thrive in the ninth inning.

With a blazing fastball and an excellent slider, the reliever has the tools to succeed in the ninth inning.

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