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.
That is a big time slider. As an added bonus, here are two clips on right-hander Tommy Kahnle pumping some serious heat. He’s in the conversation for hardest thrower in the system. Mid-90s in late-February is no joke.