Detroit fireballer Bruce Rondon will require Tommy John surgery — despite warning signs (note the inverted W delivery), the need for the UCL repair and reconstruction procedure remains surprising given his performance so far this spring: 7G, 1.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP.
Rondon had the league's fastest average fastball this past season at 99.3 MPH. You can't always see it coming, apparently. Even guys who are throwing the ball hard and throwing effectively are at risk of blowing out their elbow out of nowhere.
The loss leaves Detroit with bullpen needs yet again — after signing closer Joe Nathan (2 years/$20MM) to replace voids left by Joaquin Benoit and Jose Veras (both granted free agency), Rondon was slated to begin the year in the eighth inning setup slot after splitting the year between AAA Toledo and Detroit last year (30 appearances for each).
Rondon posted a 3.01 FIP and struck out 24.9% of batters faced in the big leagues in 2013 — Steamer projected similar numbers over a 65 game forecast in 2014 (3.34 FIP and 27.0 K%).
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Joshua Mastracci is a contributor to Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @joshuamastracci.