The White Sox have signed reliever Bruce Rondon to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Rondon, who at one point flashed triple-digit heat and was slated to be the Detroit Tigers closer of the future, was non-tendered on Dec. 1. The guy is evidence that great gas is not enough, as he could never figure out how to put it all together on a consistent basis despite multiple opportunities to do so at the big league level. While he took a big step forward in 2016 with a fine 2.97 ERA in 37 games, that he was not tendered a contract by the Tigers after last season is not a shocker given that he had a 10.91 ERA in 15.2 innings in 2018 and then spent the final two months of the year in the minors.
Now he’ll take his talents to Glendale, Arizona this spring in an effort to make the White Sox roster. If he does, he’ll join Carlos Rodon. Sadly, however, Hector Rondon left the Cubs as a free agent, depriving us of the Rondon/Rodon singularity in Chicago.
This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.
The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.
As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.