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That game last night was something that I expected to see from the Twins lineup on most nights. Driving in guys when they have the chance...
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Article: Royce Lewis: Patellar Tendinopathy

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(Twins Daily Note: In a Jeff Johnson story in The Gazette from Cedar Rapids, Royce Lewis noted that he has been diagnosed with Patellar t...
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Article: Twins Daily Roundtable: Fixing the Offense

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Twins Daily Roundtable is a weekly series. As part of this series, a question will be posed to the site’s writers and they will respond i...
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Chris Sale was his usual amazing self, but Jose Berrios kept the Twins in the game and Eduardo Escobar worked his Fogo magic once again....
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Johnson: Lewis Playing Through Patellar Tendinitis,

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 03:45 PM
Jeff Johnson talked to Royce Lewis this morning about his knee issue. Lewis noted that he was diagnosed with patellar tendinitis awh...
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Fernando Romero Is Healthy, Ready To Compete

Fernando Romero is healthy, and he’s ready to contribute to the Minnesota Twins as soon as they deem him ready.

I had the opportunity to catch up with the hard-throwing Twins minor league right-hander at Twins Fest this past weekend. We discussed his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, his hopes for 2018 and more.
Image courtesy of Kelly McGlohon
Fernando Romero grew up San Juan, in the Dominican Republic. It is a city less than three hours from the country’s capital city of Santo Domingo. While he played baseball throughout his youth in the Dominican, he eventually signed while playing in the United States. He was pitching in a Perfect Game event in Jupiter in 2011 when Twins scout Fred Guerrero signed him.

He pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2012 before he came to the States and pitched in the GCL in 2013. That’s where he became a known prospect. In 12 games and 45 innings, Romero went 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA. He walked 13 and struck out 47. Reports began coming out that Romero was sitting in the upper-90s and touching 100.

Early in the 2014 season, he was promoted to Cedar Rapids where he pitched well in three starts. Unfortunately, he was shut down and soon after had Tommy John surgery. He missed the rest of the 2014 season and the entire 2015 season. Not only was he recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he needed knee surgery in 2015 as well.

While he began 2016 in extended spring training, he went back to Cedar Rapids in mid-May. He made five starts and went 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA in 28 innings. He moved up to Ft. Myers where he went 5-2 with a 1.88 ERA in 11 starts. Combined, he worked 90.1 innings on the season.

2017 was his first full season after surgery, and it was a good one. He went 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA for Chattanooga. In 24 games (125 innings), he walked 45 and struck out 120 batters.

Romero noted, “My last six starts, I had an inning limit.”

Over that time, he was limited to five innings, regardless of the pitch count. In fact, he went five innings or less in his final ten starts, and that was the plan. He was shut down with one more start to go in the regular season, and he did not pitch in the Southern League playoffs.

So, how did Romero feel about his first full season after returning from Tommy John surgery?

Romero said, “It was not bad, but it was not good enough. I’ll take it. I’ll take it.”

He has really good stuff, but he is working hard to bring it all together. Romero certainly has more than just an upper-90s fastball. He has the potential to have three plus-plus pitches.

According to Romero, “I try to use all the pitches, but one of my best pitches is the slider, so I’m trying to get them out with that pitch.”

But, fastball command is where it all starts. “That’s all we do. Try to command the fastball and get them out with the slider or change up. Doesn’t matter.”

And he has really worked hard to develop his changeup as a go-to pitch too. “”I’ve been working on development of my changeup. But I’ll be better this year. I’ve been working on it. I’m going to keep it up.”

With Romero’s stuff and his success at AA in 2017, he might just be close to big-league ready. What would it mean for the 23-year-old to get The Call, the call to the big leagues that every baseball player dreams of?

“That would be amazing. That would be good. That would be a great moment for me and my family.”

It’s taken a lot of really hard work to develop and to come back from injuries for Romero. “Oh yeah, man. That’s all we do (work hard). That’s what we do.”

It won’t surprise you to hear what Romero’s primary goal is for 2018.

“Really, really it is to be in the major leagues. But we’ve got a little more to do.”

Romero is already in Ft. Myers preparing for the 2018 season. When big league camp opens next month, he will be there for the second time. Last year, he was just trying to catch his bearings and make an impression. He did.

When Romero was sent down to minor league camp last spring, manager Paul Molitor told Twins Daily that he loved Romero’s potential. In fact, he was so intrigued by his stuff that he may have wanted to see Romero in 2017 in a different role. “Very confident kid, who we still think has the potential as a starter. I can see him as a reliever, but I think that people envision him being a very high-end starter, so we're going to stick with that here in the short-term and try to get him stretched out,” He continued, "I asked because I see the power, and you can see how he could be a late-inning game guy, but they say he's got sustainability in terms of being able to carry that kind of stuff throughout the course of a game. He'll be able to get more work and more innings and more experience. I can see down the line with innings and his injury past that you could protect his workload sometime during the season.”

He got the work in during the 2017 season. He worked in more situations than had he been used as a reliever. And while he is likely to remain a starter at least to start the season, it is also now feasible to see him called up to the Twins to fill a need in the bullpen. And with his fastball/slider combo, he could dominate in that role too.

So what does Romero think of that idea? Is he OK with the idea of moving to the bullpen? “I am, man. I’ve got no problem at all with it. I’ll do it. If I can be a closer, I’m going to be. It doesn’t matter, just trying to help the team always. Anything you’ve got the chance.”

Most important for the Twins brass to consider, what is best for the long-term future of Fernando Romero? That is most likely what is best for the long-term future of the Twins as well.

He’s been able to go through a more normal offseason this year. He’s been able to rest his arm. He’s been able to play a lot of another game that he loves. “I love to play pool. Oh yeah, that’s what I do. Most of the time, that’s all I do, play pool.”

2018 will be Romero’s second year back from Tommy John. Based on the 25% rule (some ‘experts’ believe that if a pitcher works more than 25% more innings than the previous season, he may be more susceptible to injury), Romero could work as many as 140 innings in 2018. Who knows, maybe several of them will be for the Minnesota Twins, and maybe out of the bullpen.

For that to happen, he’ll need to keep working, keep developing and stay healthy. Fair to say, as spring training fast approaches, Romero is ready.

“I’m feeling healthy. I’m ready to compete. I’m feeling good.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chris Blessing from Baseball HQ watched Romero pitch several times. Here is a report he submitted on Romero:

Fernando Romero had a mostly up 2017 season, two years removed from TJS. The command dropped some as the changeup became the main development focus for the shorter RHP. FB sat 95-98 regularly, holding velocity throughout his starts. The pitch features late arm-side bore with natural downward plane. When he misses location, can still miss bats up. Slider is 11-5 slurve with sold depth and two-plane break. Potential out pitch at big league level. Romero has a feel for changeup; lags in development. Solid fading action and good arm speed. Flattens out with elevation. Inconsistent but getting better. Likely a call up at some point this season. Unless he works out the command issues quickly, probably not a good bet contributing much as a starter. Stuff will play up in pen. Long term, like him as a starter with the pen as a nice fallback option.


  • Cory Engelhardt, Oldgoat_MN, dbminn and 2 others like this

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23 Comments

Is it just me, or are the Rochester Red Wings potentially going to have an absolutely "loaded" pitching staff?

    • Twins33, Cory Engelhardt and sploorp like this

No shifting to the BP, no messing with a good arm.Don't we have enough of that story?May, Jay, and how many others?He has top end stuff - let him use it.We want to offer $100 million (?) to Darvish with an old arm and we have a young arm that seems rehabilitated.I would root for Romero and Gonsalves in the rotation.The BP suddenly got crowded and the rotation is not.  

Good article about someone who could be a real front line pitcher. 

    • Seth Stohs, Dantes929, spanman2 and 7 others like this
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puckstopper1
Jan 23 2018 08:00 AM

Agreed - lets keep him as a starter! 

 

Go Fernando!

    • sploorp, SF Twins Fan and jrod23 like this
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SF Twins Fan
Jan 23 2018 08:35 AM

It'll be an exciting year if he can make it to the MLB. The AAA pitching staff should be very good this season with him, Slegers, Gonsalves and Jorge. 

    • sploorp and jrod23 like this
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clutterheart
Jan 23 2018 08:54 AM

Hope he can stay healthy and put on 175 - 200 innings this year and not break down.  

 

Was this interview in spanish or english?

 

Hope he can stay healthy and put on 175 - 200 innings this year and not break down.  

 

Was this interview in spanish or english?

 

100% in English and he didn't even want a translator. 

    • jrod23 likes this

Fernando may not be as tall as the other top end starters out there, but the guy has the build of a power pitcher.Lots of push off strength.I see the benefits of the bullpen for him.Perhaps the bullpen has a higher ceiling for him.Maybe go from throwing 95-98mph throughout the course of the game to throwing 97-100 for an inning late in the game.

 

Remotely off subject, could you imagine seeing 100mph on FoxTracks from a Minnesota closer someday?I think we're getting close.

I may be alone, but I like the idea of stashing Gonsalves and Romero at AAA until June 1....the old Jose Berrios move, to save a year of service.Let the kids develop there for 2-3 months against AAA hitters and bring them up when the first injury happens.Rotation can be Santana, Berrios, Gibson, Mejia and FA to start the season. Ideally, both Gonsalves and Romero are ready to rock when the Twins start their targeted season...2019.

I may be alone, but I like the idea of stashing Gonsalves and Romero at AAA until June 1....the old Jose Berrios move, to save a year of service. Let the kids develop there for 2-3 months against AAA hitters and bring them up when the first injury happens. Rotation can be Santana, Berrios, Gibson, Mejia and FA to start the season. Ideally, both Gonsalves and Romero are ready to rock when the Twins start their targeted season...2019.


They only need to stay down for about 3 weeks to get an extra year of service time.
You might be thinking of the Super 2 cutoff, which saves a team money, it doesn't extend team control.

NOOOO to bullpen!I want this kid to be a starter long term.

    • diehardtwinsfan, nytwinsfan, howieramone2 and 1 other like this

If you haven't looked, KLAW is a real fan. Has him #47, and thinks he's better control/use of the changeup from being a mid rotation starter.

    • birdwatcher, gunnarthor, Twins33 and 1 other like this
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terrydactyls1947
Jan 23 2018 02:08 PM
I just looked closer at Romero's picture an saw the huge scar. And then I saw how contorted his right arm looks. I'm surprised there aren't more arm injuries with all that torque/pressure put on a joint. Of course, I just had shoulder replacement surgery a couple weeks ago (second one) and I may be a little sensitive right now. :)

I like Romero a lot. I thin he's our #1 pitching prospect. Hopefully he gets to the majors this year.

I like Romero a lot. I thin he's our #1 pitching prospect. Hopefully he gets to the majors this year.


I'm curious to hear your thoughts on these scenarios and what would be best for Romero long term...

Let's say in 2018 he throws ~125 innings in the minors, and another ~30 innings pitching in the MLB bullpen.

Or...

He pitches ~165+ innings all in the minors. Forgoes the Sept. cup of coffee to keep arm healthy for 2019.
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Jamie Cameron
Jan 24 2018 10:12 AM

Love his mindset around potentially being in the pen and anything to help the team vibe. Can't wait to see what he can do!

    • bluechipper likes this
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howieramone2
Jan 24 2018 10:17 AM
I would guess the ship has sailed on both Jay and May being starters. Romero appears to be our best chance for a top of the rotation guy, until we get down to our teenagers. I would be very, very patient with him.
    • caninatl04 likes this
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ashburyjohn
Jan 24 2018 11:04 AM

I would guess the ship has sailed on both Jay and May being starters.

Dec 12, 2017: "General manager Thad Levine said the Twins plan to stretch May (elbow) out as a starter, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports."

 

https://www.cbssport...out-as-starter/

 

They only need to stay down for about 3 weeks to get an extra year of service time.
You might be thinking of the Super 2 cutoff, which saves a team money, it doesn't extend team control.

Yeah.Whatever the cutoff date is, I just think it might be a good way to go with those couple of young guys.The AAA experience would be good for them.

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howieramone2
Jan 24 2018 11:16 AM

Dec 12, 2017: "General manager Thad Levine said the Twins plan to stretch May (elbow) out as a starter, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports."
 
https://www.cbssport...out-as-starter/


I read that also, but the fact is he has pitched 45 innings in the past 2 years. I'm comfortable with my guess.
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FormerMinnasotan
Jan 24 2018 02:39 PM
I hope all works out for Romero to start. Hopefully his shoulder issues won’t surface again. I mean it sounds like he is able to keep his fastball velocity for the entire game so... What we need to see from Romero IMO is improvements in his secondary stuff. His slider sounds like it’s really close, and it also sounds as if he has really worked hard on his change up. I saw at least one scouting report compare him to Carlos Martinez of the St Louis Cardinals. If he could be a starter like that for us that’d be great.

Patience, patience, patience.

 

Why not start him in AA to work on his changeup and "stretch his arm"?He can be moved up to AAA in June.

Patience, patience, patience.

Why not start him in AA to work on his changeup and "stretch his arm"? He can be moved up to AAA in June.


He's already got 125 innings in AA. I'm guessing the FO expects him to be called up to the majors by then.

 

Patience, patience, patience.

 

Why not start him in AA to work on his changeup and "stretch his arm"?He can be moved up to AAA in June.

 

Why? Why not put him in AAA? I expect him to be in the majors this year, when someone is hurt, or as a RP to get his feet wet int he late summer.

    • jimmer likes this

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