Hot .GIFs: Rondon’s slider & Kahnle’s fastball

It seemed a bit odd when the Yankees added left-hander Francisco Rondon to the 40-man roster early in the offseason, keeping him away from the Rule 5 Draft. The 24-year-old pitched to a 3.93 ERA with 80 strikeouts and 42 walks in 71 innings across three levels last year, mostly with Double-A Trenton. Solid, but he wasn’t talked about a top (or even good) prospect and didn’t seem 40-man worthy.

Rondon threw two scoreless innings in this afternoon’s game, allowing a walk and a single while striking out two. As you can see, the kid has a pretty awesome slider. Downright CC Sabathia-esque, if I may. After seeing that, it’s easy to understand why they added him to the 40-man now, that breaking ball gives him at least lefty specialist potential. Some more clips of the slider after the jump. Make sure you click to embiggen.

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Minor League Links: Brackman, SI Yanks, Kahnle

Got some minor league links to pass along…

Yankees set to promote Brackman

Perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) development in the Yanks’ minor league system this year has been Andrew Brackman‘s breakout. Granted, we’re talking about seven starts here (39.1 IP, 33 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 6 BB, 41 K, ~2.00 GB/FB), but the scouting reports have been great, which is the most important thing. Joel Sherman says that the Yanks are set to promote Brackman from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton before the All Star break, which is less than a month away. If he’s truly on his way back to being an elite prospect, there’s no sense in holding him back. Great news.

Short Season Staten Island Yankees rosters

Robert Pimpsner tweeted the SI Yanks roster last night, which Greg Fertel was nice enough to round up in one spot. Outfielders Kelvin DeLeon, Ramon Flores, Eduardo Sosa, and Carlos Urena highlight the prospect crop, but Mikey O’Brien is the only significant piece on the pitching staff. Once more draft picks sign, the team with get a bit more exciting. Pretty surprising that Carmen Angelini isn’t on the roster. If he’s not on the Rookie level GCL squad, that means he’s been released. Boy was I wrong on him.

The SI Yanks kick their season off tomorrow with their annual home-and-home series against Brooklyn.

Stoneburner continues to open eyes

Aside from Brackman, Graham Stoneburner’s arrival as a legit power pitching prospect has been one of the biggest story lines of the 2010 minor league season. Kevin Goldstein reports today (sub. req’d) that “Stoneburner’s fastball and slider both rate as plus,” which doesn’t exactly jive with what we’ve heard from the Yanks. Pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras said last month that his slider was not even a big league average pitch, so who knows what to believe. Goldstein’s source could have seen Stoneburner on a good day, Nardi could have seen him on a bad one. Chances are the reality is somewhere in the middle.

Kahnle hopes to sign soon

Fifth round pick Tommy Kahnle said he hopes to sign with the Yankees soon, though he indicated that nothing is imminent. The hard throwing righty from Lynn University is one of several power college arms the Yanks drafted that projects to be a reliever down the road, something they surprisingly lack in the system.  I ranked him the tenth most important sign of the draft class, though I was kinda spit balling it.