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Inverted W: Bruce Rondon to miss season

Detroit's hard throwing reliever is set to miss upcoming season after an MRI reveals the need for Tommy John surgery.

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.

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Player Club FB% FBv
B. Rondon DET 67.20% 99.3
J. Dominguez LAD 77.90% 98.5
A. Chapman CIN 85.40% 98.3
K. Herrera KCR 68.00% 98.2
N. Jones CHW 53.40% 97.7

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%).

. . .

All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.

Joshua Mastracci is a contributor to Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @joshuamastracci.