This front office likes many things – pitchers coming off of arm injuries/surgeries is clearly one of them.

Today the Chicago Cubs picked 24-year-old righty Hector Rondon in the Rule 5 Draft from the Cleveland Indians. The 6’3″ fireballer was a top prospect in the Indians system back in 2010 before blowing out his elbow and getting Tommy John surgery. While rehabbing from that, he fractured his elbow, requiring a second elbow surgery.

There’s your high risk.

He came back late last year, though, and was already throwing 97/98 mph in relief. It’s a fair bet that the Cubs have been scouting him heavily in Venezuela this Winter, where he’s been pitching for Caracas. The results have been decent – 3.71 ERA, 5 BB, 10 H, and 11 K in 17 innings – and apparently the scouts have been impressed:

There’s your high reward.

Ultimately, he’s a bullpen arm with some nice upside, who can actually maybe contribute in the pen this year, rather than be a mere stash. It’s the kind of pick you both expect and admire in the Rule 5 Draft. If he throws well in middle relief, great. If he doesn’t, the Cubs might be inclined to just let him go back to Cleveland (if they want him – they’d have to pay $25,000 to get him back, after the Cubs today paid $50,000 to select him).

  • someday…2015?

    Love the pick. Very-high risk for what could be a very nice reward.

    • King Jeff

      I don’t really see much risk, unless you think they should have picked up someone else (Chaffe maybe?) instead.

  • Hee Seop Chode

    That fastball sounds sexy. And word on its movement? Placement?

    • Cubbie Blues

      I found this at It is from a list of the top 25 pitching prospects in 2010

      20. Hector Rondon – RHP – Cleveland Indians

      Good command of a mid-90s fastball put Rondon on the fast track in the Indians’ farm system. The 21-year-old walked only 29 in more than 146 innings while splitting the year between Double-A Akron (7-5, 2.75 ERA) and Triple-A Columbus (4-5, 4.00 ERA). If he throws his changeup and slider with the sharp strike zone consistency of his 96 mph fastball, Rondon could make it to Cleveland sometime during 2010.

      • Cubbie Blues

        By the way, there were exactly zero zip zilch Cubs on that list.

  • Mike

    Just what the Cubs need, a guy with a history of serious, repeated arm problems to take up a roster spot the entire year. Hopefully, if he gets constantly shelled, the Cubs just return him to Cleveland and not waste the roster space.

  • ssckelley

    Nice surprise to see the Cubs get to keep Nick Struck. Losing Peralta kinda bites along with Jimenez in the minor league portion.

    Anybody understand the minor league part of it? I am confused as to why we lost Jimenez.

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  • FFP

    The 2012 rule five draft took place yesterday with the Indians taking one new player and losing two. Long-time prospect Hector Rondon went to the Cubs after missing most of the last three seasons with injuries (Rondon pitched just 41 innings over those three years). The Indians had been very high on Rondon with thoughts of him being a top of the rotation starter, but after injuries derailed his career he is now looked to be more of a short inning reliever. Since this is an area of depth for the team, they decided not to protect Rondon, despite the money and time spent on him the last few years during his rehab and treatment.