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).

  • cubzforlife

    More pitching. I love it.

  • Dustin

    Whats the 40 man roster set at now?

    • Kyle

      40, once QG and Schierholtz are formally added.

      • Brian Peters

        I’m missing something…..who’s “QG”?

    • Brett

      After this, Fujikawa and Schierholtz, it will be at 40.

  • Chris

    So he won’t be David Patton/Lendy Castillo redux?

    • Brett

      More like Patton, but no – this seems like more of a “if you can pitch and help us in middle relief, great. If not, you can go back.”

  • sclem21

    Ben Badler ‏@BenBadler
    Liked what the Marlins, Astros and Cubs did today. Took some solid players with a reasonable chance to stick.

  • Believe in 2015

    Why would the Cubs not go after a young lefty pitcher in Lara?

  • cubsin

    Rondon was almost exclusively a starter before his TJ surgery/broken elbow. He’ll be in the pen in 2013, but he may be a starting rotation candidate in 2014.

    • Brett

      Definite possibility. Though sometimes with guys who’ve had multiple elbow injuries, it’s a sign that a different kind of workload might be best for his body.

  • ncsujuri

    Because they apparently liked Rondon better…

  • BluBlud

    Rondon is already on the roster on, man they move fast.

    • Brett

      They must have hired a new intern or something mid-season, because it used to take DAYS for that to be updated, and then starting in July or so, it was like, within minutes.

      • ncsujuri

        Damn I wish I had THAT job!

      • Spriggs

        Maybe that’s what they have Randy Bush focusing on this year.

  • Dustin

    So with in at 40, and we still need a 3B..should we expect a trade??

    • Kyle

      Possible, but a DFA is more likely.

      • MichiganGoat

        Campana seems to be on the chopping block, ***prepare for scrappy love fest***

  • North Side Irish

    Jon Sickels scouting report on Rondon…

    Chicago Cubs: Hector Rondon, RHP, Cleveland Indians: Age 24, this Venezuelan right-hander is making his way back from difficult elbow problems, including Tommy John surgery and a separate fracture. He threw just seven innings in 2012, but is currently pitching well in the Venezuelan Winter League. Rondon worked in the low-to-mid-90s pre-injury but his secondary pitches were unrefined. If healthy, he could stick in the back of the bullpen. CHANCE TO STICK: Moderate.

  • Dumpgobbler

    I think this is a good move. Rondon has the Pedigree, and minor league numbers to make one feel good about this pick. When you couple that with the most recent scouting sessions it makes you think he could be a valuable piece to the pen.

  • Kyle

    If Peralta sticks in Arizona, I think we lost more than we gained today in terms of prospectiness. That’d be pretty disappointing.

    • Brett

      I agree with this. I salve myself only with the belief that it will be hard for the D-backs to stash Peralta, since they expect to be decent. And I don’t think he’s ready to help them be decent.

    • Rcleven

      AZ will need every bit of their 25 to compete. Got a feeling he will be coming back. Just not ready for the big show.

      • Kyle

        Everyone has mop-up innings, even contenders. If they want him, they can stick him.

    • Spriggs

      Even with Bell and Putz, the D’Backs bullpen is a concern for them and they’ll need a good one if they are really trying to compete — which they are. So I don’t see how they can just stash him without giving him some sort of major Lendy Castillo treatment.

  • Hebner The Gravedigger

    The Cubs must have a jar, in their dug out, full of forearm / hip / knee tendons. Never know when the next TJ surgery replacement is needed.

  • MichiganGoat

    Here’s to the TJS pitcher, all hail their bionic arms.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Well the Cubs didn’t lose Struck or Hatley so I guess the Rule 5 is a success in that regards !

  • MightyBear

    Great job Brett getting all this info to us. Thanks a lot man. You’re cranking it out.

    • Brett

      Thanks, MB.

    • Spriggs

      No doubt about it. Thanks a lot, Brett.

    • willis

      That’s what she said?

  • Brett

    Biggest surprise about Rondon?

    HIs first name isn’t Scott.

    • MichiganGoat

      Are we sure? I want to see a birth certificate

  • atfinch

    Young pitching, young pitching, young pitching…I like it. Another low risk move that could eventually be a solid addition for a blossoming team (hopefully) in the next 2-3 years.

  • Spencer

    The funniest part about the Rule 5 is that whenever teams have someone selected, they immediately start doing damage control (or at least fans and media do damage control), and start sort of bashing their own prospects with stuff like, “oh well he was blocked”, or “he has crappy plate discipline anyway”. Funny to see how it plays out.

    • terencem

      I’m predicting Drew Butera-esque offensive numbers for Cerda.

  • Michael Rakestraw

    Cubby Mike. Saw Peralta at Kane Aug. Watched warm up for his start. Ball was popping on fast balls, seemed to have a real nice curve. Was overpowering for the first couple of innings, but kc caught up with him in the 4th and 5th frames. Unless he can build up more stamina, he appears to be a relief pitcher at best.

  • eragle

    With the Tigers trading for Kobernus, does that remove them from being a potential trade partner for Barney?

  • Richard Nose

    Is there any legitimate reason for a team not to take someone in the AAA portion? I’d imagine rules and eligibility are slightly different, but its AAA…

  • steve

    This Rondon seems like a good pick to me. Coming off injuries, so some risk is involved, but I think that if healthy, this kid can stick. I don’t know if he has a future starting, but I believe he could definately stick in the pen. What’s his stuff like? I read one article that says he throws 98-97 mph, another that says mid to low 90’s. If he has heat like 98-97, he could be a beast outta that pen. These kinds of kids turn out sometimes to be pretty good, hopefully that’s the case here.

  • Tommy

    Can’t complain about getting a pitcher that throws close to 100mph. Don’t see many of them.

  • willis

    Yeah I’m ok with this, although the “coming off TJ surgery” is getting kind of old. But we’ll see what he has. With the pen in the shape that it is, I think, if healthy he can stick. Things could change if Girrili chooses Chicago but I just don’t see that. But if he does…all of the sudden the bullpen looks decent. A complete change from last season.

    But I like this kid’s upside, and for the $50,000…worth the risk. Looking forward to seeing him in ST.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Kind of silly pickup by the Diamondbacks. Peralta is not where near being a major league pitcher at this point. Could see a team like the Astros trying to stash him, but a contender like Arizona would be handicapping their team trying to keep him all season. He will be coming back.
    Cubs made a magnificent pick today. How many potential starters do the Cubs have with good control that can throw 98 mph? Before he hurt his elbow, Rondon was in the top 20, maybe top 10 starting pitching prospects in baseball. When he was 21, he may have been the best starter in the Eastern League that year. Huge upside on this young man.
    I have been told he is actually throwing harder now after his surgeries.

    • a_mazz_ing

      Sometimes guys throw harder after TJS.

      Also, I hear a lot of this top 20 pitching prospect thing in 2010… But he didn’t crack the top 100 across the MLB? I mean it’s not a problem, just more or less curious.

  • Kubphan82

    So the Cubs:
    Gain Rondon, we kept Lendy all year, we can keep him.
    Lose Burgess, Cerda, and Jimenez,
    oh well, We kept Struck, so that’s a gain…

  • ncsujuri


    You mentioned in the last part that ‘ultimately’ Rondon is a bullpen arm…he had been a starter prior to his previous injuries so maybe this year he is a bull pen arm that might ‘ultimately’ be a starter? Just a thought.

  • Justin

    Any thoughts on losing Starling Peralta in the draft?

  • Richard Nose

    yeah I was just noticing Rondon has done nothing but started duing his minor league career too. Because of his size and power I like him already. A little bit more exciting than Lendy.