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Ben Rortvedt - 2018

Adopt A Prospect 2018 Today, 08:26 AM
  Benjamin T. Rortvedt   September 25, 1997 (Age: 20 this season) Birthplace: Verona, WI Signed via amateur draft in 201...
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Next MLB stadium to be demolished?

Other Baseball Today, 08:24 AM
The stadium cycle has pretty much run through MLB. There are your last old gems in Fenway and Wrigley, a couple expansion era gems in Dod...
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Article: Game Thread: Twins@Yankees 4/23 6:10PM

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:26 AM
It’s big four game series that kicks off tonight in the Bronx as the Twins and Yankees go to battle in a series that can really help the...
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Minor Leaguers and Minimum Wage

Other Baseball Today, 08:21 AM
https://www.twinciti...ens-operations/   We've had a lot of discussion about how the minor leaguers often do not earn a livable wage...
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Time to shuffle the deck

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:18 AM
This could be a very bad week. I'd like to see them shuffle the roster/batting order and bullpen.   Release Grossman. DFA Kinley and...
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Wherefore Art Thou Romero?

When it comes to Twins prospects, Fernando Romero is a name that has certainly been gaining some steam. Entering last off-season, Twins Daily ranked him as the best prospect in the organization. The only thing stopping him from repeating that honor was the team’s number one overall pick from last year’s draft.

Minnesota’s front office has been busy this off-season by adding five pitchers to the bullpen and starting rotation. This means all of the team’s top pitching prospects will start in the minors. That still doesn’t mean that Romero isn’t making it hard for the front office to consider bringing him north.

What role will Romero play in 2018? What can fans expect from the team’s top pitching prospect?
Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
For the first time in his professional career, Fernando Romero found himself on multiple national prospect rankings. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked Romero as the 68th best prospect while Baseball Prospectus saw him sneak into the top-100 at number 97. ESPN’s Keith Law has him just inside his top-50. Most of this buzz is coming off of his potential to be a starting pitcher but he’s done very well this spring as a relief pitcher.

Entering play on Sunday, Romero had yet to surrender a hit in five innings pitched. He continued that streak and added three more hitless innings to his resume.

One of the knocks on Romero has been his command. During his breakout 2016 campaign, he seemed to put it all together. He posted a 0.90 WHIP and a 1.5 BB/9. Last year, his WHIP bumped up to 1.35 and his BB/9 more than doubled (3.2 BB/9). This spring he has been focusing on attacking hitters. Even with that focus he was only successful on getting ahead of three out of the nine batters he faced on Sunday.

When Seth interviewed Romero earlier this off-season, he made it clear that 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.”

With a fastball in the mid to upper 90s and a devastating slider, one has to wonder if Romero could help the Twins this season in a bullpen role. Former Cy Young winners like Johan Santana and David Price got their starts as relief pitchers. Romero has only pitched over 100 innings once in his career. If the Twins are in the playoff hunt, a shift to the bullpen could be one way he helps the club in 2018.

Obviously, the ultimate goal is to have Romero near the top of a rotation. A one-two punch of Jose Berrios and Romero could be quite the homegrown tandem. Twins coaches, including Ivan Arteaga, have been working with Romero to refine his delivery.

During the 2017 campaign, Romero was getting into the habit of falling off toward the first base side of the mound. This impacted his control as one can see from the numbers listed above. Coaches like Arteaga have helped him to focus on finishing with his momentum heading toward home plate.

“He doesn’t need to overthrow,” Arteaga told the Pioneer Press. “He’s got velo. He’s got power. He just needed to understand that, which I think he did over time. Watching some video and working in the bullpen, he put a lot of effort into following the plan that we have for him.”

Romero has impressed this spring and it seems like he could be destined for Target Field this season. Will it be as a starter or as a reliever? Only time will tell…

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32 Comments

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Andrew Thares
Mar 12 2018 08:32 PM

Perhaps my favorite part of the Odorizzi and Lynn additions is it gives the Twins the flexibility not to force Romero or Gonsalves to the bigs early, like was done with Berrios.

 

In AAA they can focus on development, so they can work on things they need to work on, and their innings pitched is easier to control. If they are in the Majors the focus shifts to winning, at the expense of development. 

    • Carole Keller, Blake, jimbo92107 and 5 others like this

If and when Romero reaches his 1A potential we are officially a WS contender. The current rotation is sufficient to make the playoffs over a 162 game season, but for playoff results and overall team swagger, we NEED that 1A (please be a 1A....please be a 1A....PLEASE be a 1A) 

    • jimbo92107, mikelink45 and Dman like this
Big take here:

I may be an idiot for saying this but I have been more than impressed with Romero and Gordon this spring. There is no doubt to me that these kids are ready to play and I think you bring them North very early. If Gibson is the Kyle of the first half, I think you cut bait and give the kid a shot at the bigs. That kind of fire power brings a big boost to a #5 spot. I also think Gordon belongs at SS. This kid is hitting 500 and looks the part. I’ll take the fielding lumps. Hell, if you aren’t going to sign back Dozier, trade him off and put Gordon at 2B, though I’d prefer to keep Dozier around.
    • mikelink45 and BJames like this
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Carole Keller
Mar 13 2018 05:25 AM

I'm posting a plug for Adopt-a-Prospect. You can follow Romero's season here. Goulik will keep us all updated on Romero's progress.

 

 

    • ashburyjohn likes this
Right now Romero is pitching later on games. Will see if he pitches earlier, that would mean Twins are interested in seeing if he can come north
    • bluechipper and TNTwinsFan like this

Right now Romero is pitching later on games. Will see if he pitches earlier, that would mean Twins are interested in seeing if he can come north


Bingo! Would love to see him pitch against more MLB competition rather than the AA, AAA, and AAAA guys he's been pitching against lately. Have him immediately follow one of the starters or have him start one.

Start games in Rochester through late July.Then shift to the bullpen for a few weeks before brining him up in early August.  

 

That will get him innings so he can contend as a starter in ST, 2019.Will also get him experience in the bigs AND help the Twins go on a nice playoff run in 2018.

    • ericchri, Tibs, Vanimal46 and 1 other like this

As the unofficial fan of bringing in the young players I would love to see Romero displace Gibson.If it requires some BP first, fine, but this is our best arm, our best shot at the future.  

    • beckmt and BJames like this

Perhaps my favorite part of the Odorizzi and Lynn additions is it gives the Twins the flexibility not to force Romero or Gonsalves to the bigs early, like was done with Berrios.

In AAA they can focus on development, so they can work on things they need to work on, and their innings pitched is easier to control. If they are in the Majors the focus shifts to winning, at the expense of development.


I don't necessarily agree with this. Pitchers need to work on pitching to big leaguers at the big league level. AAA won't teach you to do that.

Berrios absolutely shredded AAA. He learned how to get AAA hitters out. However, there is a fine line between AAA hitters and big leaguers in terms of pitch recognition. He racked up Ks in AAA that weren't there for him in the majors because the hitters werent chasing the same pitch they would in AAA. There comes a point where your stuff is there and you just need to learn the appropriate locatarion and pitch selection for the situation. That is a lot more vital and demanding in the MLB where you get away with many fewer mistakes.

On the job training is the only way. He would've gone through that adjustment whether it was at age 21 or at age 30. Keeping players languishing in AAA assuming there is a magic date in on which they wake up and understand how to get major league players out is damaging to the player and the team, IMO. The player is being robbed of earlier service time related payouts and the team is potentially missing some productive years (for example, if they had brought Berrios up to take his lumps a year earlier, he likely would've reached his current ability to record outs in the MLB a year earlier).

There are factors and exceptions of course. But, IMO, that paradigm needs to be shifted.
    • beckmt, bluechipper, Dave The Dastardly and 1 other like this

 

Perhaps my favorite part of the Odorizzi and Lynn additions is it gives the Twins the flexibility not to force Romero or Gonsalves to the bigs early, like was done with Berrios. 

Do you really think Berrios was rushed to the bigs early? I would guess that he could have been in the minors another 5 years and still would have gotten so amped up that he would have over thrown when he got up here.I say that because I think he still does sometimes. I think he might be farther along now if he had come up sooner, in fact.If when he came up he did the same things in the majors he did in the minors he would have been way more successful.It had less to do with his abilities and more to do with being human. Some can make the transition easy. For some it takes a while to calm the nerves and trust their stuff.Blyleven came up and was awesome right away at 19. Koufax came up and it took him 6 years to really get going. I don't know what the right course is for Romero. Its possible he is our best pitcher right now and that he is just wasting bullets pitching in the minors.Its possible there are things he should be working on without the pressures of the majors.  

    • CUtomorrownight and Dave The Dastardly like this

Here's how I see this playing out for 2018.This kid is too talented to not at least give him a shot at continuing as a starter.In 2018, I suspect he'll be on some kind of innings limit.So, leave him in Rochester's rotation through...say, July 1.Let him make 15 starts there and throw 100 innings.Then, he comes to Minnesota to pitch out of the bullpen the remainder of this season...hopefully in a playoff push.Next year, Erv is likely gone.Lynn's contract will be up.There will be rotation spots up for grabs.Give him a real chance to crack the rotation.

    • bluechipper likes this
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Dave The Dastardly
Mar 13 2018 08:36 AM

Nice article with a great title! Love it!

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howieramone2
Mar 13 2018 08:57 AM

 

Perhaps my favorite part of the Odorizzi and Lynn additions is it gives the Twins the flexibility not to force Romero or Gonsalves to the bigs early, like was done with Berrios.

 

In AAA they can focus on development, so they can work on things they need to work on, and their innings pitched is easier to control. If they are in the Majors the focus shifts to winning, at the expense of development. 

Exactly! Berrios got thrown to the wolves. We're past that. With patience and luck, we're going to have a great big lefty in the middle of the rotation for some time to come, and shortly thereafter we may have the mythical ace if Romero can refine his change up.

While SP prospects can and do contribute out of the pen, I'd like to see us aim to allow Romero to contribute in 2018 as a starter if necessary, through the end of the MLB season and into a potential postseason.

As an example, Lance McCullers Jr. was coming off similar low innings and inexperience entering 2015:

https://www.baseball...e=pgl&year=2015

They started him slowly in the minor leagues, promoted him in May, demoted him for 2 weeks of rest in August, and then let him finish the season in MLB and in the postseason rotation. Wound up with 125 IP in MLB, 35 in the minors, and 6 more in the postseason.

The Twins could follow a similar pattern with Romero in 2018, perhaps a little more conservative with a target of 150 IP before any potential postseason innings.

Obviously this wouldn't be locked in stone, but if we start out with this template, it is still easy to shift to other plans as the season develops -- leave him in AAA if he's not ready, or shift him to the pen, or shut him down. But if you start out with one of those other plans, it becomes almost impossible to even have the option of Romero starting through September.
Or, he starts in AA apparently.
He will learn little in AA. He needs to pitch somewhere his mistakes will be punished. Doubt there is room for him in the majors, so hope he can start in Rochester.
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FormerMinnasotan
Mar 13 2018 11:08 AM
At this point regardless Romero has forced himself at least to AAA. Honestly he should have been promoted to AAA after the All Star break last year. Sure the Twins organization was limiting his innings per start, but until the last 4 starts he was arguably the best starting pitching prospect the Twins had. Why stunt his growth by starting him in a level he pretty much already mastered. If anything Rochester can start with a 6 man rotation to stretch out starts for Romero so he doesn’t burn up most of his innings before the All Star break.

What I see with Romero’s success this spring is first off being effective with his fastball, his slider looks better plus his change has improved and he’s willing to use it more. Plus he is using his 2 seamer (which sits between 90-92) more often. It sounds like his overall velocity on average might be down, but he has the extra gear to get his fastball to the upper 90’s to around 100. It just sounds like his focus is maintaining himself to be a starter with his already exceptional stuff.
Something else that needs to considered here:

Romero is with the big league club....but he's not pitching to big league competition. He's seen a couple of good hitters in ST, but he's not seen great ones in succession like he will in a live regular season game against the Indians, for example.

Not sure how much we should buy into this.
Yeah, I didn't mean to suggest Romero would be as good as McCullers or worthy of a postseason rotation spot as a rookie, but I was just leaving room in the plan for that possibility unfolding.

Wherefore Art Thou Romero?

Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?

 

 

The single most impressive thing regarding Romero this Spring is the meteoric improvement of his changeup. Not mentioned much, but it has become a plus pitch from an average pitch based on work he did this off-season. Add the change in mechanics that improved his control overall, and Romero might have a very impressive season (and potentially postseason) for the Twins

    • goulik likes this

 

While SP prospects can and do contribute out of the pen, I'd like to see us aim to allow Romero to contribute in 2018 as a starter if necessary, through the end of the MLB season and into a potential postseason.

As an example, Lance McCullers Jr. was coming off similar low innings and inexperience entering 2015:

https://www.baseball...e=pgl&year=2015

They started him slowly in the minor leagues, promoted him in May, demoted him for 2 weeks of rest in August, and then let him finish the season in MLB and in the postseason rotation. Wound up with 125 IP in MLB, 35 in the minors, and 6 more in the postseason.

The Twins could follow a similar pattern with Romero in 2018, perhaps a little more conservative with a target of 150 IP before any potential postseason innings.

Obviously this wouldn't be locked in stone, but if we start out with this template, it is still easy to shift to other plans as the season develops -- leave him in AAA if he's not ready, or shift him to the pen, or shut him down. But if you start out with one of those other plans, it becomes almost impossible to even have the option of Romero starting through September.

Back on my soapbox here.Your plan might be what the Twins are thinking and I hope it works out that way because it would mean we get some meaningful production out of him this year.Its the whole idea of shutting him down or limiting his innings that gets me. Any pitcher that has pain or fatigue should be given rest but the notion that a guy that has thrown 150 innings and is going strong should be shut down for 5 months and that rest somehow leads to accumulated ability to go another 20 innings the following year just doesn't make sense to me and has no real scientific backing that I have ever seen.I get trying to insure pitchers have the best chance of having a long career but I just don't think this does it.Blyleven along with others pitched 280 (at age 20)innings with no bad effect. Some guys blow out their arms 10 days into spring training.Just another case of managing out of fear.Get his form right.Try to keep him from over throwing and then monitor his health throughout the season.  

I get skepticism about innings limits, but I think that ship has sailed. These pitchers are big long-term investments for clubs. Best we can hope for is a fairly flexible limit -- aim for 150 but be willing to stretch to 160+ as circumstances allow.
    • goulik likes this

 

Or, he starts in AA apparently.

 

Could just be procedural 

 

    • howieramone2 likes this
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FormerMinnasotan
Mar 13 2018 12:11 PM

Could just be procedural

Still he doesn’t belong there. Wasting innings in AA takes away from the innings he can pitch in AAA and in the Majors. Plus it’s possible him being in Chattanooga would send Lewis Thorpe back to Ft Myers. Romero deserves to be in Rochester to start the season. I mean if he’s healthy for this year and goes into camp next year shouldn’t he have a legit opportunity to compete for a spot in the rotation? If he pitches under 100 or so innings in Rochester this year no matter what he will start next season in Rochester, even if he is ready for the Bigs.

 

Still he doesn’t belong there. Wasting innings in AA takes away from the innings he can pitch in AAA and in the Majors.

 

I'd rather have him pitch in Southern Tennessee than Upstate New York in April for sure... 

The competition in AA is probably as good if not better than AAA.Does not really matter and building up innings is all the same.All minor league innings are "wasted" btw...

 

 

    • Bob Sacamento likes this

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