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:
Rondon hasn't stayed healthy the last three years, but talked to scouts who saw him throwing hard in Venezuela. Not surprised he went high.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) December 6, 2012
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).