After spending the bulk of the 2016 campaign at Double-A San Antonio, the Padres gave Jose Rondon a quick taste of Triple-A El Paso before he debuted with the big club in September. If he reaches his ceiling at the plate, Rondon may be a steady .280 hitter down the road, but his carrying tools are currently his defense and his arm. Rondon chipped in with 13 steals in 17 attempts at Double-A, but he did not successfully swipe a big in 32 games between El Paso and San Diego. The Padres had Javier Guerra penciled in as their long-term shortstop, but a disappointing age-20 season in the California League leaves his long-term outlook cloudy. Barring the addition of competition from outside the organization prior to spring training, Rondon may get an opportunity to compete for an Opening Day roster spot. It's likelier he will return to El Paso to begin 2017 with the hope of earning a midseason callup if the position remains an area of need.
Rondon was optioned to Triple-A El Paso on Monday, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The Padres don't have much in the way of attractive options at shortstop, but the organization determined that Rondon still wasn't ready for a full-time role at the major-league level. A promotion to the majors could come later in the season, but he'll first need to show improved plate discipline after posting a .310 on-base percentage across 409 plate appearances at Double-A San Antonio a year ago.
Rondon is expected to start the year with Triple-A El Paso, according to thePadres' Official Site. Despite being shallow at shortstop, the Padres are leaning towards starting Rondon in the minors this season. They have Luis Sardinas and the newly-acquired Erick Aybar to compete for the starting job during spring training. Rondon would be an option they could consider during the season if the initial plans fall through at short.
Rondon was recalled from Double-A on Tuesday. With Alexi Amarista landing on the disabled list with a hamstring strain Tuesday, the Padres recalled their promising young prospect to fill the void in the infield. Rondon actually had a brief stint with the Padres over the weekend, but he went just 1-for-9 with three strikeouts before being sent back down. However, it now appears that Rondon could be in line for a lengthier stint with the big league club should Amarista miss extended time.
Rondon has been optioned to Double-A after Yangervis Solarte was reinstated from the Family Leave List, Carlos Collazo of MLB.com reports. Rondon will head back to Double-A where he was hitting .279/.310/.386 in 409 at-bats. In his short stint with the Padres, Rondon only received nine at-bats. The 22-year-old will most likely spend the rest of the season in Double-A and could be back up with the Padres when rosters expand in September.
Rondon, who is in the starting lineup Sunday, will see consistent reps in the infield, according to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Rondon drew the start at shortstop Sunday over Alexei Ramirez, and it sounds like that may be the case a bit more often as long as Rondon is with the team. The Padres have clearly came out as sellers as the deadline approaches, proven by the trades of Andrew Cashner, Colin Rea and most recently, Matt Kemp. Now, it's time to evaluate the organization's young talent, and that will involve getting a closer look at the 22-year-old Rondon. He doesn't bring much pop with his bat, as shown by a .386 slugging percentage at Double-A, but has been successful on 13 of his 17 stolen base attempts this season.