Tigers closer Bruce Rondon throws real hard

That's Rondon rocking triple digits in last summer's Futures Game. (US Presswire)

With Jose Valverde now gone and pretty much every feasible closing option on the free- agency market signed elsewhere, the Detroit Tigers are set to hand over closing duties to prospect Bruce Rondon . Though he's not yet thrown a pitch at the major-league level, he already has something very few do: A triple-digit heater.

Assistant general manager Al Avila told the Detroit Free Press on Saturday that he has seen Rondon hit 103 on the radar. After seeing this, I hopped over to the excellent brooksbaseball.net to check out if they had any data on Rondon. They do. It's only four pitches from the 2012 Futures Game, but Rondon threw four four-seam fastballs that averaged 102.1 miles per hour.

That average will obviously go down over the course of a season, but that's an elite heater. In 2012, Kelvin Herrera of the Kansas City Royals had the fastest average fastball at 98.5 mph (via Fangraphs.com), followed by Carter Capps of the Seattle Mariners (98.3), Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman (97.7), Washington Nationals reliever Henry Rodriguez (97.7) and San Diego Padres starter Andrew Cashner (97.7).

Rondon, 22, had 29 saves with a 1.53 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 66 strikeouts in 53 innings last season across three different levels (23 1/3 innings in High-A, 21 2/3 in Double-A and eight in Triple-A).

If Rondon doesn't cut it, the Tigers could use Phil Coke , Joaquin Benoit , Octavio Dotel or Al Alburquerque to close, but the young Rondon certainly looks the part.

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CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered the last six World Series beginning with the epic 2011 Fall Classic. The former Indiana University... Full Bio

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