hector rondon cubsIn the most recent Ask Away, I was asked whether or not (or rather, when) we need to start worrying about Hector Rondon’s 2016 Spring Training performance.

At the time, he had thrown just 3.2 innings across four appearances, giving up the most runs of any pitcher on the Cubs. In fact, in his most recent outing, he had given up five earned runs on seven hits in just 2/3 of an inning.

Rough start, indeed.

But, like Carrie Muskat, Joe Maddon, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon, himself, I wasn’t worried and preached patience with Rondon, especially in the Spring.



There are simply too many nuances and variables to each pitcher’s Spring Training plan (plus the conditions and the timing) to pass judgment on any one individual performance – and that goes double for a sample size of fewer than four innings.

The most important angle to keep in mind is that Rondon is healthy, his stuff looks good, and his velocity is right where it’s supposed to be. According to Rondon, he was throwing 94-96 MPH last week, and has plans to crank it up to 97 MPH before the end of the Spring. He isn’t worried at all.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything is 100% perfect right now. His command has been a little off, and he went to the video room with set-up man Pedro Strop to see if he was tipping any pitches. Luckily, the two felt that he was not tipping his pitches and that the command would come around as he continues to warm up. Well, as luck would have it, they were correct on both.



During yesterday’s 5-2 win over the Kansas City Royals, Hector Rondon needed just seven pitches to get through the seventh inning. With a pop out in foul territory and two strikeouts to follow, Rondon got out of the inning quickly and effectively, reminding us of the pitcher he usually is.

Now, to be certain, you can’t glean too much information from one overwhelmingly positive outing in the same exact way you should avoid doing so for bad outings. That said, an appearance like this serves to remind us why we shouldn’t overreact to a slow start (Spring Training or otherwise) over a small sample. It’s quite possible that, even if he was doing everything right and looked healthy and strong in the process, that unexpected variance can throw off even the best of play.

Although, I can understand why Cub fans are particularly rattle-able about their closers in the spring. We’ve been bit by this very thing before. If you recall, Jose Veras and Carlos Marmol both started struggling in the Spring after excellent seasons, but never truly regained their form. In fact, they got downright worse.



However, Rondon is an entirely different person with a completely unique set of circumstances. While the nerves may linger in our collective head until we’ve finished a month of the regular season, I wouldn’t worry too much if I were you.

The only important thing right now is how he feels and how he looks, and, from Maddon to Strop to Rondon (to us here at Bleacher Nation), all agree he looks healthy and ready to go for the season.

Picture via @MBDChicago.


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