Francisco Rondon: From DFA to lefty specialist

USA TODAY Sports

Boone Logan is a free agent after the 2013 season and Clay Rapada has been released by the organization for the second time. The Yankees will need a new lefty specialist in 2014, someone who can actually get left-handers out. This season lefties are hitting .280/.302/.460 against Logan, which is not something you want out of your LOOGY. Conversely, Francisco Rondon has kept them to a .200/.263/.300 batting line between Double-A and Triple-A, but it's been a whirlwind of a season so far for him.

Rondon started the season as a starter in the Thunder's rotation, but that experience ended when he compiled a 6.99 ERA in six starts. Unfortunately, he put up an 8.59 ERA after returning to relief and got himself designated for assignment. He passed through waivers and returned to the team and since May 25 he's been completely shutdown. In 23.2 innings he has a 1.52 ERA, and opponents are only betting .148/.258/.247 against him. He has a tendency to issue walks (11), but he can also strike out his fair share (26) of batters.

If the Yankees want to keep their left-handed specialist options cheap and internal, other candidates include Jeremy Bleich, Nik Turley, Matt Tracy, and Josh Spence. Out of those options only Turley has had a better line against lefties (.160/.306/.259) and he's likely to remain a starter. Everyone but Spence is in Double-A, so the Yankees will have to wait until the end of the year to see where everyone ends up. If Rondon can keep up this hot streak he could find himself in Scranton before the end of the year and as a frontrunner for the left-handed specialist in the major league bullpen.

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