Possibly the funniest video ever…

The Detroit Tigers Farm Report…

The Detroit News

June 11, 2012

Tigers minor league notebook: Bruce Rondon might be closer of the future

Right-hander Bruce Rondon has 11 saves in 18 appearances at Single A Lakeland this season. (Robin Buckson/Detroit News)

From The Detroit News:

  • By LYNN HENNING
  • / The Detroit News

Tigers observers have noticed this pattern over the years. Their closers tend to close in unconventional ways.

Todd Jones, the man Ernie Harwell dubbed “Roller Coaster” during a white-knuckle appearance in April 2000, stepped to the mound in the ninth inning spanning his two stretches in Detroit, threw strikes, and tended to ignore the one or two runners who might have reached base during his sometimes scary shifts that usually ended in a save.

Jose Valverde has his own style. He’ll mix the occasional 1-2-3 inning with the occasional walk and just as occasional base hit. But he was 49-for-49 in saves a year ago and has 12 saves in 2012. He typically gets the job done — as he did with 1-2-3 finales Saturday and Sunday against the Reds — even if he frightens a few children and adults along the way.

Those same Detroit fans who prefer a good sedative ahead of the ninth dream about the day a Tigers closer arrives with a metaphorical flame-thrower strapped to his jersey. They want opposing batters incinerated, the way so many traditional closers tend to finish ballgames.

And they just might have found their candidate in Single A Lakeland bullpen fire-thrower Bruce Rondon.

Rondon has not allowed an earned run in his last 13 appearances, striking out 18 in 14 1/3 innings. He has walked four during that stretch after Rondon issued free tickets to 34 batters in 40 innings at Single A West Michigan.

“He’s definitely improved on his command,” said Mike Maroth, the former Tigers left-hander who now works as the Flying Tigers’ pitching coach. “Here’s a kid who throws 100 miles an hour and is consistently in the upper 90s. He’s got a live arm and the ball jumps out of his hand.

“But he also throws a slider and a change-up that are pretty good. His slider, at times, has some good bite to it. His change-up he throws 88 to 90, and all I can say is, I wish my fastball had been that good.”

Rondon (pronounced: Ron-DOHN) is 6-foot-3, with weight that is probably under-calculated at 265. It’s generally believed among Lakeland’s expert assessors that he is closer to 285-plus.

But the arm, the mass, and the mechanics have all jelled in 2012. Rondon has an ERA on the season of 2.33, and 0.00 since he began his hot stretch on April 26.

“He knows his role,” Maroth said. “He wants that ball in the ninth inning. When it’s his game, he wants that ball.”

Maroth has appreciated another reliever’s 2012 habits: Tyler Clark, 23, a 6-2, 201-pound right-hander the Tigers snagged in the 24th round of the 2010 draft (University of Missouri).

In his last nine games, Clark has an 0.63 ERA, with nine hits, 18 strikeouts, and seven walks, three of which came in one appearance.

“When you’ve gotten almost halfway through a season and you have an ERA just over 1 (1.23 in 14 games) that, to me, is pretty consistent pitching,” Maroth said. “There’ve been a few times where he’s struggled with his command, but for the most part, he’s done a great job.”

Triple A Toledo

Who’s hot …

Brad Eldred, 1B/DH: Has been a two-month machine for the Mud Hens, leading the league in home runs (22), RBIs (61), and batting .306. Cleared waivers after the Tigers gave him an April-May shot before designating him for assignment.

And who’s not …

Eric Patterson, 2B: . 161 in his last 10 games. Patterson, 29, signed last December as a minor-league free agents.

Double A Erie

Who’s hot …

Jamie Johnson, OF: Owns a 12-game hitting streak, during which he has batted .326. Johnson, 25, is a 5-9, 180-pound, left-handed batter who was a seventh-round pick in 2009 (University of Oklahoma).

And who’s not …

Jared Wesson, LHP: 6.27 ERA in his last 10 starts, with 51 hits and 27 walks in 47 1/3 innings.

Single A Lakeland

Who’s hot …

Dixon Machado, SS: Six-game hitting streak, during which he has batted .426. Machado, 20, is a 6-foot, 169, and a right-handed batter.

Tyler Collins, OF: Last year’s sixth-round pick (Howard College, Texas) is batting .324 spanning his last 10 games. Collins is 22, bats left-handed, and checks in at 5-11, 215.

Luis Castillo, OF: In his last eight games, Castillo, 23, is batting .394, with five doubles and six RBIs. He is 5-11, 160, and bats right-handed.

And who’s not …

Alex Burgos, LHP: Not the season predicted for Burgos, 21, who has a 5.89 ERA in his last 10 starts.

Single A West Michigan

Who’s hot …

Eugenio Suarez, SS: He gets closer by the week to serious big-league projections. Suarez, 20, and 6-foot, 174, is a switch-hitter batting .556 in his last eight games (eight doubles and one triple, included) and .319 on the season.

Curt Casali, C:. 369 in his last 19 games, with two homers, eight doubles, and 16 RBIs. Casali was the Tigers’ 10th-round pick in 2011 (Vanderbilt).

And who’s not …

Aaron Westlake, 1B: Painful first year for the Tigers’ third-round pick in 2011 (Vanderbilt): .154 in his last 10 games and .209 on the season. Westlake, 23, is 6-4, 235, and a left-handed hitter.

Triple A Toledo

Who’s hot …

Brad Eldred, 1B/DH: Has been a two-month machine for the Mud Hens, leading the league in home runs (22), RBIs (61), and batting .306. Cleared waivers after the Tigers gave him an April-May shot before designating him for assignment.

And who’s not …

Eric Patterson, 2B: . 161 in his last 10 games. Patterson, 29, signed last December as a minor-league free agents.

Double A Erie

Who’s hot …

Jamie Johnson, OF: Owns a 12-game hitting streak, during which he has batted .326. Johnson, 25, is a 5-9, 180-pound, left-handed batter who was a seventh-round pick in 2009 (University of Oklahoma).

And who’s not …

Jared Wesson, LHP: 6.27 ERA in his last 10 starts, with 51 hits and 27 walks in 47 1/3 innings.

Single A Lakeland

Who’s hot …

Dixon Machado, SS: Six-game hitting streak, during which he has batted .426. Machado, 20, is a 6-foot, 169, and a right-handed batter.

Tyler Collins, OF: Last year’s sixth-round pick (Howard College, Texas) is batting .324 spanning his last 10 games. Collins is 22, bats left-handed, and checks in at 5-11, 215.

Luis Castillo, OF: In his last eight games, Castillo, 23, is batting .394, with five doubles and six RBIs. He is 5-11, 160, and bats right-handed.

And who’s not …

Alex Burgos, LHP: Not the season predicted for Burgos, 21, who has a 5.89 ERA in his last 10 starts.

Single A West Michigan

Who’s hot …

Eugenio Suarez, SS: He gets closer by the week to serious big-league projections. Suarez, 20, and 6-foot, 174, is a switch-hitter batting .556 in his last eight games (eight doubles and one triple, included) and .319 on the season.

Curt Casali, C:. 369 in his last 19 games, with two homers, eight doubles, and 16 RBIs. Casali was the Tigers’ 10th-round pick in 2011 (Vanderbilt).

And who’s not …

Aaron Westlake, 1B: Painful first year for the Tigers’ third-round pick in 2011 (Vanderbilt): .154 in his last 10 games and .209 on the season. Westlake, 23, is 6-4, 235, and a left-handed hitter.

lynn.henning@detnews.com

 

PARAPROSDOKIANS… (Winston Churchill loved them) are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous.

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

10. Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations. On my desk is a work station.

11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

12. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’

13. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

17. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

18. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

19. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.

20. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.

21. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

22. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

23. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

24. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

25. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

26. Where there’s a will, there are relatives.

Bond, James Bond

You Only Live Twice

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