Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #2 Fernando Romero
Age: 23 (DOB:12/24/1994)
2017 Stats (AA): 125 IP, 3.53 ERA, 120 K, 45 BB, 1.35 WHIP
ETA: Late 2018
2017 Ranking: 1
National Top 100 Rankings
BA: NR | MLB: 68 | ESPN: 47 | BP: 97
What’s To Like?
Romero has a plus fastball that tops out at 98, paired with a plus slider in the upper 80s and his changeup is average. He showed his true potential over a 13-start stretch that spanned from May 24 to Aug. 2. Over that stretch, Romero was 9-1 with a 1.40 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 9.9 K/9 over 70.2 innings pitched.
Excuse me while I wipe the sweat off my brow.
Romero was excellent at limiting damage, holding opposing batters to a .256/.330/.351 (.681) line despite giving up a .331 BABIP. He’s surrendered just six home runs over 303.1 innings in the minor leagues. Among the 54 pitchers to log at least 120 innings in Double-A last season, Romero was second in FIP (2.93), third in swinging strike rate (12.0), fifth in K/9 (8.64) and sixth in GB/FB (2.00).
The Twins will certainly give Romero every opportunity to develop as a starter, but per Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook “some see him eventually turning into a Francisco Rodriguez-type late-inning piece.” That’s one hell of a backup plan.
What’s Left To Work On?
Romero limped into the offseason, pitching to a 10.67 ERA and 2.09 WHIP over his final three starts. He had been limited to five innings per outing over the final two months of the season due to concerns over his innings, and ended the year on the DL due to a shoulder impingement.
Thanks to Seth, we know Romero is entering 2018 healthy. Then what’s left to work on? Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Here’s what Romero said to Seth in the piece that’s linked above:
”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.”
The development of that changeup may be the determining factor on whether or not Romero remains in the rotation. Lefties had an OPS of more than 100 points higher than right-handed batters against him last year (.740 OPS vs. .631 OPS).
The other pivotal element in determining Romero’s future role may be his walk rate. After issuing free passes to just 4.3 percent of the hitters he faced in 2016, that rate jumped to 8.3 last year. That’s not alarming, but it’s higher than teammates and fellow top-20 prospects Stephen Gonsalvez (6.5), Zack Littell (7.5) and Felix Jorge (6.6) all had in Double-A last season.
It appears likely that Romero will open 2018 back in Chattanooga, but assuming all goes well he’ll be Rochester bound before long. It also seems like a good bet that he’ll make his major league debut at some point this season, as well. Having thrown 125 innings last year, however, it’s safe to assume the Twins will be keeping a close eye on his workload again in 2018.
TD Top Prospects: 16-20
TD Top Prospects: 11-15
TD Top Prospect: #10 Akil Baddoo
TD Top Prospect: #9 Brusdar Graterol
TD Top Prospects: #8 Blayne Enlow
TD Top Prospects: #7 Brent Rooker
TD Top Prospects: #6 Wander Javier
TD Top Prospects: #5 Alex Kirilloff
TD Top Prospects: #4 Stephen Gonsalves
TD Top Prospects: #3 Nick Gordon
TD Top Prospects: #2 Fernando Romero
TD Top Prospects: #1 (Coming Soon)
Get to know more about Fernando Romero and much more in the 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook.
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The 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook goes in-depth and provides player bios, scouting reports, statistics and much more on almost 160 Twins minor leaguers.
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