I've spoken some already about Indians pitchers Justin Masterson and Fausto Carmona, citing various reasons for why I believe each should be solid starting pitchers for the team this season. However beyond those two the Indians largely lack depth in the rotation. I touched briefly on prospect Carlos Carrasco and his regression and he could still turn into a solid middle-of-the-rotation option eventually. But today I'd like to talk about another pitcher who has the potential to help sooner than later.
That player is Hector Rondon. The 6'3" righty split time between AA and AAA last year, pitching extremely well at both stops, especially given his age. With consistently strong strikeout and walk rates Rondon has talent to become a #2 pitcher at the big league level, though he's going to need some more refinement in the minors.
With a fastball that sits at 92-94, Rondon pairs a plus slider that could use some more depth with a curve and straight change. He's going to need to improve the depth on his slider for it's effectiveness to carry over to the Majors and he'll need some more consistency out of his changeup to become more effective against lefties as they hit him fairly hard last year. Lastly he's going to need to find a way to induce some more ground balls as his fly ball rate in the minors is somewhat alarming.
The good thing with Rondon is simply age, he's still very young. He'll be 22 to open the year and if the coaching staff can find a way to get some more movement out of his fastball, and improve his slider and changeup, he should be ready to step into the Majors by the end of this season and definitely by 2011. Should he ever be able to make a significant impact on his GB rate, he could even venture into true #1 territory as his control is for real and he should be able to strike out at least 7.5 batters per inning in the Major Leagues.