St Louis Cardinals: Angel Rondon’s debut couldn’t have gone much better
By Matt Graves
The St Louis Cardinals have been desperate for bullpen help and Angel Rondon did a great job with his first appearance in the MLB on Sunday.
In all, Sunday was one of the most frustrating and disappointing days of the year for the St Louis Cardinals.
An awful start for John Gant was followed by a heroic seven-run inning to erase the Reds’ lead. In the end though, Jesse Winker’s power surge proved too much for the team and the Reds won 8-7, finishing off a four-game sweep of the Cardinals.
While it wasn’t a good result, it wasn’t all bad on Sunday. Tyler O’Neill hit his team-leading 13th homer, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado went a combined seven for nine at the plate, and the Cardinals and their fans got a glimpse at a promising young pitcher.
That pitcher, if you can’t tell, is Angel Rondon.
Rondon, 23, is the latest debut for the Cardinals in a bullpen that needs someone to step up. The team’s number 10 prospect according to MLB.com had been throwing at AAA Memphis before his callup this weekend.
In his time at Memphis this year, Rondon has really not been great overall, sporting a 5.32 ERA over 23.2 innings. However, the starter looked a lot better in his two starts right before he headed to St. Louis.
Rondon has looked like a promising prospect for a while and showed why in his debut. In the top of the 6th inning before the Cardinals made their comeback, Rondon pitched a nearly perfect inning.
He did give up one hit and had to throw 22 pitches, but the thing that matters is that he threw 15 strikes. Rondon also picked up his first career strikeout against Jonathan India.
As the broadcast reiterated many times, Rondon doesn’t throw hard, but sits around 94 mph on his fastball which is hard enough to get some swings and misses. Most importantly, he is known as a strike-thrower and showed it on Sunday.
Rondon has a long-term outlook in the rotation, but for the rest of this season, the door is wide open for the righty to make a name for himself in the Cardinals’ bullpen. The easiest way for him to do that is just to throw strikes and eat innings.
Fans got a glimpse of Rondon’s potential in his near-perfect inning on Sunday, the question is whether or not he can carve out a role to stick in St. Louis moving forward.