The MWAH prospect countdown marches on with the only teenager to make our list, so don't make us look stupid, kid.
Position: SS Highest Level: Rookie
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6'1" Weight: 160 lbs.
Age: 18 Born: 3/3/94
2012 Season Stats
AZL: 212 PA, .262 AVG, .314 OBP, .365 SLG, 13 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 20 RBI, 24 SO, 5 SB, 5 CS, .290 BABIP
Rookie: 20 PA, .300 AVG, .348 OBP, .450 SLG, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 3 SO, 1 SB, 0 CS, .357 BABIP
Contact – B. As we haven’t seen him personally but are relying on personal reports from Angels scouts and numbers, Rondon hasn’t displayed any troubles whatsoever making contact in Rookie Ball.
Power – B. This is where Rondon becomes particularly interesting. He’s only hit one HR professionally so far, but every report indicates that Rondon has very real power and will hit for power in the near future. His frame (6’1 and 170+) suggests that these reports may be accurate. There has even been one well placed account that says the 18 year old is still growing. Picture that, a tall, athletic power hitting shortstop.
Discipline – B. Last season he posted more BB than K’s as a 17-year old in a pitcher friendly league. This season, he maintained a strong walk rate and a good eye at the plate, but was also fooled more often. Still, at such a young age he’s shown he’s not in over his head.
Speed – B. Rondon can run. He isn’t going to be a barnburner like Trout or Bourjos, but he reportedly has the type of speed to swipe 20 bases over a full season.
Arm – B. Rondon reportedly has the arm and range to play both shortstop or third base. The Angels appear to be set on giving him the chance at climbing the ladder at shortstop, but there’s some speculation that he will switch to third base at the higher levels. However, he’s only 18 and is a long way away from the high minors and has the physical tools for shortstop.
Performance – B. Not many 18-year old Venezuelans can come to the U.S. and hold their own after only one season at the Dominican Academy. Regardless of the numbers, you have to figure 2012 was a huge success for Rondon.
Projection – A. Jose figures to log more time in Orem in 2013, but the Angels may get aggressive and give him a shot at A-Ball. Still, Jose projects into being an offensive minded shortstop. Scouts and bloggers alike have reported exactly what I’ve hear about Rondon so far. That his “make up” is sky high. Rondon appears to be a mature, hardworking, physically gifted youngster that could be a good major league shortstop. However, we must stress patience here. He’s going to be 19 next season, and there’s a lot that can happen before he reaches the majors.
Estimated MLB Arrival Date – 2017.
(*As always, the above scouting report is provided by Scotty Allen of LA Angels Insider)
Season Summary: Making the jump from the DSL to the US minors is no small task, especially for an eighteen-year old shortstop. The goal at that point is really just to not get annihilated by the competition, so in that respect, Rondon more than accomplished the mission at hand. He did absolutely nothing overwhelming in his stat line, but he show a lot of good things on the field. Though he is something of a free-swinger at this point, he walked at a decent clip, especially for a Dominican kid (after all, "nobody walks off the island."), nor did he strikeout very much, so his much ballyhooed contact skills seem to be firmly intact. The power? Not so much, but that was always expected to come in later when he fills out. Besides, as I am going to continue pointing out, HE'S ONLY 18!
What that boils down to is this high ranking Rondon being based almost entirely on projection. Three years from now we might not remember his name or he could well be the top prospect in the entire system, but for now, the size, athleticism and contact skills lead me to lean a lot more towards the future top prospect side of the equation.
What to Expect in 2013: Rondon is a good half decade away from the majors, so it isn't like anyone is expecting him to start flying up the ladder now that he is stateside. That should mean that Rondon will report back to Orem to continue his development. But now that he'll be the ripe old age of 19 and have a year of the American minors under his belt, the bar will definitely be raised as far as performance goes.
OK, the bar isn't going to be that high, but he's going to be moving to a hitter-friendly league and will have been under the tutelage of the Angels' minor league development staff for a full year, so this will be a big test for him to show that he can both be a bit more productive but also while making the necessary adjustments asked of him by the organization.