Dave Michael

San Diego Padres Prospect Interview: Jose Rondon

SAN ANTONIO - Coming into 2016 the Padres’ had three shortstops - Javier Guerra, Ruddy Giron and Jose Rondon - that were considered among their Top 20 prospects by most publications, including ours, and right now Rondon is having the top year of all three.

Rondon, who was the main component of the trade with the Los Angeles Angels for Huston Street in 2014, is having his best month this year hitting .377/.397/.541.

The 22-year old Cuban was signed by the Angels in 2011 and has performed better this year for the Missions after a disappointing month last year with the Missions where he hit .190/.219/.230 before going down with a shoulder injury which ended his season. 

At six-foot-one and 185 pounds he has a strong, yet somewhat unorthodox throwing motion and this year, as compared to years past, has shown some gap power.  

As his manager Philip Wellman noted in our interview with him, Rondon is going to have to get better at the little things in the game  - base running, bunting and defensive positioning - to have a shot at the major league level.

We caught up with him before a recent game in San Antonio to discus his changes from last season.

How have things changed for you from last year?

Jose Rondon:  Last year was a bad year, and this year is this year.  I try to figure out what I did wrong and build on becoming a better player.  So I don’t go back and think about it too much.

Are you more relaxed this season because you were here last year?

Jose Rondon:  It is better and I’m trying to not put pressure on myself.  I know I can play and when I am relaxed I perform better.

You look like you are in better shape this season.  Did you do something different this year?

Jose Rondon: I’m doing the same thing that I have in the past.  Haven’t I always looked good? [laughs].

I try to take a lot of ground balls every day before the game, hit in the cage and in batting practice so when I get in the game it seems more natural.  I believe that if you practice a certain way, you will play that way too.

What was the biggest aspect of your game that you wanted to improve upon coming into this year?

Jose Rondon: The biggest thing was getting good rehab on my shoulder that I injured last year, then getting into shape and hopefully put some better numbers.

Mike Saeger, the Missions’ announcer told me that you are using the whole field better this year.  Was that a change in your approach at the plate?

Jose Rondon: I have been trying to use the field more because it is better for my game.  Also because they play me to pull I’ve been able to get a few more extra-base hits by going to right field.

This year are you going to try to steal more bases?

Jose Rondon: Yes, but it always has to be the right situation.  

What is the difficult part of playing shortstop?

Jose Rondon: Nothing is really difficult because I have been playing there for all of my life.  What is difficult is trying to be consistent.  I try to get in a routine and work on focusing on doing everything correctly so it will be the same in the game.

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