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Should the Twins Shut Down Fernando Romero?

One of the biggest responsibilities an organization has to its players is to do everything in its power to keep them healthy. This is especially true of young pitchers, but there's a fine line between babying a player and breaking him.

Fernando Romero is scheduled to pitch for Double-A Chattanooga Thursday night, but should he? The 22-year-old has already set a career high for innings pitched and appears to be fading of late. Is it just a slump, or is this a red flag that he could be wearing down?
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily
Romero, Twins Daily's No. 1 prospect heading into this season, is having a great year for the Lookouts despite facing older hitters 83 percent of the time. There's really no way to paint this season for him as anything but a success, but is it time for it to end?

Romero hasn't pitched into the sixth inning for nine straight starts. In one of those outings he was removed despite having thrown just 63 pitches. It's clear the decision makers are already putting limitations on his workload, but would it be more wise to just shut him down before you break him down?

Romero has shown signs of fatigue over his last two outings. Over 9.1 innings he's given up 12 earned runs, 17 hits, four walks and has just two strikeouts. Maybe that ends up as just a blip on the radar when all is said and done, but it's pretty out of character for a guy who had a 2.60 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 9.4 K/9 prior to those two poor outings.

Romero missed all of 2015 and only logged 90.1 official innings last season (though he did put in some more work at extended spring training). He's already up to 120.0 innings pitched this year, a new career high. He's also still just 22-years-old.

On the other hand, he's already on the 40-man roster, thus burning an option year. That puts some additional urgency into Romero's development. There's also the fact that Chattanooga will be in the Southern League playoffs, and it'd be a huge blow to their championship dreams if Romero were to be shut down. A lot of Twins fans will turn up their noses at that notion, but try telling the guys in that Lookouts clubhouse that winning doesn't matter in the minor leagues.

Trying to figure out what's best for Romero's future is incredibly difficult. Maybe the teams have a lot more data than us looking from the outside in, but there doesn't seem to be a right or wrong answer. No two players are the same and injuries can seem to be completely random.

What would I do? Well, I've already joked around here a few times that I'd freeze Romero in carbonite a la Han Solo and have him remain in that state until the spring. What do you think the Twins should do with him?

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31 Comments

What do you think the Twins should do with him?

 

I think that the Twins should gather and analyze all data they have on Romero, including average velocity during games and throughout the season, give him a thorough physical exam and make an informed decision.

 

Do I know what that decision should be?No without that data.Do I trust the (same old minor league & medical) Twins' staff to make the right decision?Not sure.

    • clutterheart, brvama, kab21 and 4 others like this
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yarnivek1972
Aug 22 2017 03:48 PM

I think the Twins should stick with whatever their original plan was.  If it was a pitch count limit or an IP limit.  You aren't going to do Romero any favors if he can't pitch deeper into the season.  As long as he isn't feeling pain in his arm, stick with whatever the plan originally was.  He has to be getting close to whatever cap the Twins have in mind.

    • Steve Lein and KGB like this
I don't believe IP or pitch counts mean much.
If a guy is strong and maintaining form, let him pitch.
If he's fatigued to the point that it affects his form or mechanics in a way that is inviting injury, that's when you shut him down.
    • Dantes929, Jham, laloesch and 4 others like this
Call him up in September and put him in the bullpen.. Limit his innings load and give him big league experience
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Deduno Abides
Aug 22 2017 05:06 PM
Limit innings now to rest for Southern League playoffs, then hopefully help the team to a AA championship.
    • jun and caninatl04 like this

What would I do? Well, I've already joked around here a few times that I'd freeze Romero in carbonite a la Han Solo and have him remain in that state until the spring. What do you think the Twins should do with him?


Well, then some other enterprising Twins fan would just disguise themselves as the bounty hunter Bombo Fett and free him.

 

I don't believe IP or pitch counts mean much.
If a guy is strong and maintaining form, let him pitch.
If he's fatigued to the point that it affects his form or mechanics in a way that is inviting injury, that's when you shut him down.

I'm with you.I have never understood how not pitching for the next 6 or 7 months is doing him any good.  He is just as likely to tear a tendon in the first two weeks of ST as he is now IMO.  Ask him how he is feeling. If it is simple fatigue then skip a start or two.  If there is stress or pain then rest or maybe shut him down. I don't believe there is much evidence that innings or pitch limits is a good thing. I think most on here would agree that the Twins have done as much as possible and more than most teams to protect their pitchers with both innings limits and pitch counts.  I also think most on here would agree that it hasn't done much good. Gibson, May, Thorpe, Pelfrey, Liriano, Burdi, Wimmers,  Perkins.  I am sure I am missing plenty.

If he's "just" fatigued or they are concerned about too many innings, skip every other start and turn those into bullpen games for the rest of the year, so you don't tax the arms of the other starters.

If he's hurt, put him on the DL, and rehab him as appropriate.
    • Mike Frasier Law likes this

 

Well, then some other enterprising Twins fan would just disguise themselves as the bounty hunter Bombo Fett and free him.

Bombo Fett????? Are you sure you aren't a Trekkie?

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nicksaviking
Aug 23 2017 07:11 AM

Maybe the Twins don't see him as fatigued, maybe they see him with the same energy but he had a couple of bad outings and the team wants to see if they can wrap up his season with a better taste in his mouth.

 

Do we have any velocity readings? From during his peak performances and during the two recent outings? I'd think his velocity would give us a better clue as to his current fatigue level.

How much does he weigh? Get Souhan on it.
    • DJSim22 and caninatl04 like this

 

Bombo Fett????? Are you sure you aren't a Trekkie?

 

I was trying to combine a Twins and Star Wars reference... perhaps unsuccessfully, 

 

Attached Image: RiveraBombo.jpg

 

In retrospect, I should have gone with "Bombo Yett":

 

Attached Image: yett.jpg

    • Tom Froemming and MN_ExPat like this

 

I was trying to combine a Twins and Star Wars reference... perhaps unsuccessfully, 

 

attachicon.gifRiveraBombo.jpg

 

In retrospect, I should have gone with "Bombo Yett":

 

attachicon.gifyett.jpg

Ahh, I see... well played then Good Sir.

One more start-- limit to 4 or 5 innings, then one (unlimited) start in their playoffs.Isn't that what major league teams do when they are coasting into the playoffs?

    • Deduno Abides likes this
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Tom Froemming
Aug 25 2017 07:02 AM

Romero pitched poorly again last night. He gave up six runs (five earned) and nine hits over 5.0 innings. So he's now given up 17 earned runs over his last 14.1 IP.

    • Cory Engelhardt likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Aug 25 2017 10:18 AM

I think they are trying to keep his shorts start but to extend his time frame. It isn't as much as IP, but getting used to playing over the long haul. I wouldn't be surprised if he's horrible here on out, as he's well beyond his max, but I'm fine with that. They need to get him to a point where he can be able to handle an ML workload.

 

I think they are trying to keep his shorts start but to extend his time frame. It isn't as much as IP, but getting used to playing over the long haul. I wouldn't be surprised if he's horrible here on out, as he's well beyond his max, but I'm fine with that. They need to get him to a point where he can be able to handle an ML workload.

I don't know.  If he's pitching bad, he's likely fatigued, and you're increasing his injury risk and maybe even encouraging bad form/mechanics by continuing to send him out there.  Seems like a pretty risky move just to get him from ~120 IP to ~140 or whatever.

I'd be fine with them shutting him down at this point. 

    • Twins33 likes this

I don't know. If he's pitching bad, he's likely fatigued, and you're increasing his injury risk and maybe even encouraging bad form/mechanics by continuing to send him out there. Seems like a pretty risky move just to get him from ~120 IP to ~140 or whatever.


Does seem about time to shut him down. He's pitched enough to get to 160 next year, which can be a full season with some creativity throughout the year.

I still think it's basically moot, he'll be too tantalizing not to put in the pen in the second half next year.

Romero, Twins Daily's No. 1 prospect heading into this season

 

It probably says a lot about the top end of the 2017 prospect pool that TD had Romero No.1.At the time that declaration was made, Romero was a 22-year-old 6'-0" right-handed starting pitcher with a grand total of 31 starts over 4 professional seasons...none beyond single-A...and with elbow surgery thrown into the mix for good measure.Ouch.

 

The title of the article could be "Is it time to slow the roll on Fernando Romero?". He really hasn't been great this year. He started slow, then was very good for a while, then has been downright poor recently.Aside from a couple of instances (one referenced in the article) where he was removed early with a decent pitch count, more often than not, he has been very inefficient.Even when he was rolling, his pitch counts were usually getting away from him early.The numbers speak for themselves.He's barely averaged over 5 innings per start and his walk and hit rates have been significantly higher than in seasons past.Of course this can be considered SSS, but then, so can the combined total of his 'good' seasons.

 

I'd be careful with him.I'd try to balance wanting him to experience the reality of a long professional season, while avoiding him trying to force results by changing his mechanics, etc.One thing I'm certain of having listened to the Chattanooga games this year...ceiling aside, Romero is significantly further away than is Gonsalves...at least as a starter.And yes, Romero is younger...by about 5 1/2 months.I'm guessing that we'll hear soon that Romero is shut down, and I'd be very surprised if we see him up for anything more than a relief inning or two...and only after the games don't matter.

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diehardtwinsfan
Aug 27 2017 08:43 PM

 

He's barely averaged over 5 innings per start and his walk and hit rates have been significantly higher than in seasons past.Of course this can be considered SSS, but then, so can the combined total of his 'good' seasons.

.

 

I think the numbers need a bit of context. The team has been intentionally pulling him after 5 IP regardless of pitch count. They've been doing this for a while now. I'm a bit concerned by his slow down, but I don't think his average IP is the number we should be looking at.

 

...I don't think his average IP is the number we should be looking at.

Fair enough.It was an anecdotal comment based on my perceptions having listened to most of Chattanooga's games on the internet.I went back and looked at Romero's game logs and it wasn't AS bad as I thought it would be.Some short outings with bad-to-very bad pitch counts; some short outings with pitch counts that really weren't horrible.All in all, not efficient, but not really out of line with what you see from many prospects.This year he's been averaging about 16.6 pitches per inning and his strike percentage is about 65%.The trend is not our friend, though.Last year, just about every number was significantly better than this year.Last year Romero dominated, and maybe it's just me, but it seems like a lot of posters have the perception that that he's dominating again this year.He's hasn't.He's had dominant or borderline-dominant starts here and there, mixed in with a whole bunch of mediocre, ok starts and a handful of clunkers.The AA level has challenged him.  Happily, the one number that's held up is his strike out rate (although, it's taken a bit of a hit lately to 8.6 per 9).So, here's to hoping that this is a temporary plateau on his otherwise rapid ascent to the big club.But I'm not sure that, at this particular point in time, the Twins see him as 'almost' ready.We'll see.

    • diehardtwinsfan likes this

No surprise... I am trying to verify that he's being shut down, as opposed to actually hurt:

 

 

 

    • nytwinsfan likes this

I mean, it's a 7-Day DL. They could probably retro-date it, but there is only 7 days left in the regular season at this point. 

 

Does seem about time to shut him down. He's pitched enough to get to 160 next year, which can be a full season with some creativity throughout the year.

 

People forget that the goal for most pitchers nowadays is not 200 innings.Especially strikeout pitchers.  Say one is averaging 5 innings a start, and 32 starts over a full season, that's 160 innings.  My best guess is that since Romero pitched 90 last year, and I'd aim for getting him to 160 next year, that this year should be the average of the two, which is 125 innings.  And amazingly, he's at 125.0 innings for the year.

 

I'd be shocked if he pitched in the AA playoffs or relief for the Twins.

 

I'd be surprised if he pitched the rest of the regular season at regular rest, which I'd presume is two more starts (August 29 and September 3).

 

I'd expect he makes 0 or 1 more start and be done for the season.  I'm OK with that.