Jose Rondon, Shortstop
Here's the dream. A grinding player who plays at 100%, 100 percent of the time, with an above average bat, with above average speed, with above average defense... you see where we're going with this right? Jose Rondon is that guy. Jose Rondon has four of the five tools you look for in a prospect, and he'll be 20-years-old out of Spring Training. Those tools aren't 100% fine tuned yet, and he needs to step up his power, but he has every capabality to show the baseball world that he is for real.
"Not many guys Rondon's age have the ability to make contact with ball and spot the pitch out of the pitcher's arm. He's a very talented young man with a big future."
That quote was from a scout not with the Angels. Rondon is a very admired prospect among the Major Leagues, and for good cause. Rondon's ability to see the ball at such a young age, and make good contact is rare. Rondon's never had a problem with contact, even when coming to a more advanced style of game in the United States from the Dominican Republic. Another plus is that he has a good free swing, with a lot of bat speed.
Rondon adds to that contact with good discipline. Rondon draws about as many walks and he strikes out, which is another rare quality to his game. However, he rarely strikes out, meaning he rarely walks. Something a journalist in Orem, Utah told us is that Rondon will take on a first pitch nearly every time.
Rondon has above average speed. He isn't Usain Bolt, but he can add extra bases to hits in the gaps and will steal you quite a few bases. What astounded a broadcaster in the Midwest League is his ability to run the bases. Some young players take wide turns or short cuts around the bags, but Rondon has an ability to turn each base well, and with his speed, could add a couple extra runs a season strictly based on his baserunning ability.
Rondon's defense is above average as well. He played mostly third base and shortstop in the Dominican Summer League, but was moved to shortstop full time once in the states. He has good range to the left side of the infield with an above average arm. What Rondon needs to work on most defensively is not over analyzing the play. With grinders, some times you try just a little too hard and miss the initial play, which is something coaches will work on with Rondon to ease him up and make him a well polished defender.
The only thing missing from Rondon's arsenal at the plate is power which is odd. Scouts have told us that Rondon has power, and not gap power, but raw power. Rondon has only hit two home runs in two seasons in the states, and only one home run in the Dominican. He added 25 pounds since the end of the 2012 season to now, and he's still a growing boy so he may possibly have a power bat after eating his veggies, and putting on just a few more pounds to his six-foot-one, 185 pound stature.
Rondon's numbers say a lot about the player he is. In 2011, in the Dominican Summer League, Rondon put up a .315/.378/.406 slash. With that came a pair of nine-game hitting streaks, and a 13-game stretch where he didn't strike out.
Rondon's first season in the states weren't spectacular, but they weren't poor either. His batting numbers dropped to .260/.318/..365. He did maintain a good walk to strikeout ratio though, striking out just 11% of hs plate appearances.
2013 was a big year for Jose Rondon. Another season in Rookie Ball was just what he needed, jumping his batting numbers to .293/.359/.399, which included a 13-game hit streak.
EXPECTED OF THE FUTURE:
Rondon will be in Single-A coming out of Spring Training. Where is the question. The Angels have been an aggressive bunch jumping players over Low-A straight to High-A. In all honesty, his Spring Training will decide where he lands. InsideTheHalos staff got together and talked about this for quite some time, and we believe Rondon will land in High-A for 2014, but we've been wrong before.
Rondon has the talent to take the minors by storm, and jump each level successfully. However, the Angels have time with this young man. He'll be 20-years-old right at the start of Spring Training, so his estimated time of arrival with the Angels is unmarked currently. We say 2017 is a good time for Rondon, but it could be 2018. Rondon's future with the Angels also may be at third base as opposed to shortstop, but that's for time to decide, not us.
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