Born: February 16, 1988
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 215
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Int’l free agent, 2006 (Cardinals)
How Acquired: Waiver claim (from Orioles)
Country: Venezuela
Agent: N/A


Rondon is a small but hard-throwing right-handed reliever who made a painfully slow advance through the lower minors.  He never pitched well until his seventh pro season, partly due to control issues.  He throws a mid-90s fastball that has hit 100 mph, and he also relies on a slider.  Early in his career he had some large platoon splits, but the last several years he hasn’t.  He’s been a strong groundball pitcher, which explains his appeal to the Pirates.  They claimed him off waivers from the Orioles.  Ironically, Baltimore had designated him for assignment to make room when they claimed Vance Worley from the Pirates.

VSL:  0-1-1, 6.46 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 15.1 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

Rondon mostly struggled in a brief debut.

VSL:  1-6-2, 4.74 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 62.2 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 3.9 K/9

The Cards sent Rondon back to the VSL, where he split his time between starting and relieving.  He mostly struggled and had an extremely low K rate.

R+:  2-2-6, 4.03 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 22.1 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 8.5 K/9
A:  1-0-0, 3.24 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 8.1 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 5.4 K/9

Rondon went to advanced rookie ball and made some improvements pitching in relief, partly as a closer.  He still didn’t pitch especially well, but his K rate was much better.

A:  1-5-0, 4.27 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 52.2 IP, 2.2 BB/9, 6.3 K/9
A+:  0-1-0, 7.71 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 5.5 BB/9, 6.1 K/9

Rondon opened the season in extended spring training, then went to high A in mid-June.  He struggled through eight outings, including two starts, with control being one of his problems.  The Cards sent him down to low A after a month and he made ten starts there.  He pitched better, with much better control, but had gopher ball problems, allowing nearly one every seven innings.

A:  4-8-0, 5.30 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 108.2 IP, 5.4 BB/9, 6.3 K/9

The Cards left Rondon in low A the whole season, where he was mostly a starter.  He pitched poorly, with significant control problems.  He was eligible for the Rule 5 draft after the season but wasn’t selected.

A+:  1-5-6, 4.05 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 26.2 IP, 4.4 BB/9, 9.1 K/9
AA:  1-8-7, 9.16 ERA, 2.04 WHIP. 37.1 IP, 8.0 BB/9, 7.2 K/9

Rondon served as a closer in high A for two months, then moved up to AA and continued in the same role.  He made progress in high A, especially with his K rate, but had serious problems in AA, walking nearly a batter an inning.  The fact that the Cards stuck with him as a closer (mostly) despite the awful numbers shows that they still believed in his potential to some degree.  Rondon again went unselected in the Rule 5 draft.

AA:  2-1-4, 3.44 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 34.0 IP, 4.2 BB/9, 7.9 K/9
AAA:  0-1-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 4.8 BB/9, 12.0 K/9

Rondon had his first real pro success, pitching most of the year in relief in AA.  His control was still weak, but for the first time he had fewer hits allowed than innings pitched.  He put up similar numbers in AAA in the season’s last month.  The large step forward got him added to the 40-man roster after the season.  Baseball America ranked him 24th on the Cardinals’ top prospect list, the only time he ever made any sort of prospect list.

AAA:  3-5-1, 4.12 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 67.2 IP, 4.9 BB/9, 5.6 K/9

Rondon spent the season pitching in relief in AAA.  He took a step backward, allowing opponents a 274/358/418 and posting poor walk and K rates.

AAA:  5-4-10, 3.03 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 62.1 IP, 2.9 BB/9, 7.4 K/9
MLB:  0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 1.0 IP, 9.0 BB/9, 0.0 K/9

The Cards sent Rondon back to AAA for the year, aside from one big league appearance in June.  He improved significantly, although he still had a low K rate for a power-armed pitching serving in short relief.  After the season, the Cards removed him from the 40-man roster and Colorado claimed him.

AAA (Colo):  0-0-0, 1.35 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 6.2 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 5.4 K/9
AAA (Balt):  3-1-1, 2.33 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 54.0 IP, 2.8 BB/9, 7.7 K/9
MLB (Colo):  0-0-0, 90.00 ERA, 11.00 WHIP, 1.0 IP, 27.0 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
MLB (Balt):  0-1-0, 7.42 ERA, 1.95 WHIP, 13.1 IP, 4.0 BB/9, 5.4 K/9

Colorado sent Rondon to AAA to start the season and he pitched well through a handful of outings.  The Rockies called him up in late April and he made two disastrous appearances, prompting them to designate him for assignment.  The Orioles claimed him and he pitched very well for them in AAA through the end of the season.  He got two brief callups in August and then spent September in the majors, but didn’t pitch well for the Orioles.  They removed him from the roster after the season and the Pirates claimed him.

AAA:  6-4-12, 2.67 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 57.1 IP, 3.8 BB/9, 5.8 K/9
MLB:  0-0-0, 17.18 ERA, 2.73 WHIP, 3.2 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 9.8 K/9

The Pirates acquired Rondon off waivers shortly after the 2015 season.  The fact that he was available meant that every team in baseball except St. Louis passed on him before the Pirates claimed him.  Two months later, they designated him for assignment and outrighted him to AAA in order to clear roster space for John Jaso.  Rondon spent the first two and a half months in AAA, much of the time as closer, putting up a good ERA but poor peripherals.  With their bullpen a complete shambles, the Pirates called him up in mid-June.  His stay didn’t last long, though, as they designated him for assignment after two terrible outings.  Rondon cleared waivers and the Pirates outrighted him back to Indianapolis, where he spent the rest of the season.  For the year he allowed just a .238 opponents’ average, helped by a low BABIP of .250.  His control was shaky and he missed very few bats.  Not surprisingly, his FIP (3.69) was a full run higher than his ERA.

Rondon will be a free agent after the season.

2016: Minor League Contract
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2006
MLB Debut: 6/29/2014
MiLB FA Eligible: 2016
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 10/29/2012 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2013, 2014, 2015)
MLB Service Time: 0.061
July 3, 2006: Signed as an international free agent with the Florida Marlins.
October 29, 2012:
Contract purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals.
November 3, 2014: Claimed off waivers by the Colorado Rockies from the St. Louis Cardinals.
May 2, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies.
May 10, 2015: Claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles from the Colorado Rockies.
October 20, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles.
October 26, 2015: Claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Baltimore Orioles.
December 23, 2015: Outrighted to AAA by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
June 18, 2016: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
June 24, 2016: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates; outrighted to AAA on June 30.