Chicago Cubs: No. 12: Hector Rondon
Hector Rondon is one of the best relievers the Chicago Cubs have had in recent memory. He’s largely forgotten today, though he had a nice five-year run with the team, including 2 1/2 years as the closer.
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Rondon signed with the Cleveland Indians as a free agent during the 2004 season. He spent eight years in their system before the Cubs took him in the Rule 5 draft in 2012. He got into 45 games as a reliever in 2013, and he was okay. Yet in 2014, the team tried him as the closer, and it worked brilliantly, as he earned 29 saves while posting a 2.42 ERA.
Rondon’s 2015 season is especially underappreciated. As the Cubs made the playoffs, Rondon earned 30 saves while posting a 1.67 ERA. I’ll never forget him striking out Stephen Piscotty to beat the Cardinals in the NLDS that year. In 2016, Rondon earned 18 saves but was moved into a setup role after the Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman. In 2017, Rondon was solid again, this time as a full-time middle reliever.
Rondon is still pitching for the Houston Astros, where he’s been the past two seasons after the Cubs decided to not bring him back after the 2017 season.