Not long ago MLB.com re-did their Top 100 Prospect Rankings. Sitting in third place was shortstop AA prospect Jose Rondon. Rondon has been a professional since 2011, where he started out in the Angels organization and hit .315 in 49 games.
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In 2012, he played on two levels between rookie league teams and continued to hit. In 2014 he was traded to the San Diego Padres as part of the Huston Street trade and that year total hit once again .315 in 111 games. Now in 2015 he has risen through the prospect ranks at a time when the Padres need a shortstop both at the major league level and in the minor league ranks after trading away 2014 first round draft pick SS Trea Turner.
Since starting the in the minor leagues Rondon has always hit. This season he hit .300 in Lake Elsinore (High A) before being promoted to AA San Antonio with a career high 18 stolen bases between the two leagues. Then three weeks ago on July 26 he suffered a fractured right elbow, ending his season.
That said, there is a lot of promise to this youngster’s game with no glaring weaknesses. He won’t be ready for 2016 but if he continues to hit might be ready for the major leagues by 2017. He appeared in the Futures Game and is seen more as steady than flashy in the field with decent range and a solid arm. Offensively he is great at making contact and his approach is beyond his years. His only offensive weakness is that he doesn’t provide much power and like most minor league players could take more walks.
Rondon hopes to still play in the winter leagues this season and should easily be ready to go by the start of the new season. The Padres have no clear plans themselves for shortstop for 2016, as certainly the Clint Barmes/Alexi Amarista experiment has failed. Likely they will take a flier on another veteran shortstop or maybe even take a look at someone like Mariners shortstop Brad Miller.
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