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Article: MIL 5, MIN 4: Jake Cave Homers in MLB Debut

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:45 AM
With every new injury comes an opportunity for another player to emerge. Joe Mauer was placed on the DL, opening the door for outfielder...
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Request to Writers and Posters

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:41 AM
This request is for everyone who contributes to Twins Daily. I try to read as many of the articles, forums, and blogs as I can because i...
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Just let Sano rehab here in Minnesota

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:35 AM
With Mauer out, Morrison will be playing first. DH is open, so Sano can DH here just as well as Rochester. Maybe wait an extra day or so...
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Game Thread: Twins vs. Milwaukee 5-20 @ 1:10 PM CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:37 AM
  ANNND Welcome back weirdos! To another episode of Minnesota Twins Whine Line: Take a Chance! Edition. We got some things off our...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (5/19): Jaye with a Gr...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 10:37 AM
Myles Jaye threw seven innings of one-hit ball to help lead Rochester to a 2-1 win. Meanwhile, Tyler Jay was on the mound in the bottom o...
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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 13 2018 02:45 PM

 

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.

I think we are talking about different levels of development. Do pitchers need to develop their ability to get MLB hitters out once they get there, yes. But that goes hand in hand with the MLB teams focus of winning because the pitchers sole focus is still on getting guys out.

 

The development I am talking about is working on pitches, and other mechanical things. It is a lot easier to focus on that in AAA. Once a guy like Romero (who still hasn't pitched in AAA) has those things more ironed out, then he can come up to the MLB level and work on the final stage of development. 

    • Deduno Abides and howieramone2 like this

I think we are talking about different levels of development. Do pitchers need to develop their ability to get MLB hitters out once they get there, yes. But that goes hand in hand with the MLB teams focus of winning because the pitchers sole focus is still on getting guys out.

The development I am talking about is working on pitches, and other mechanical things. It is a lot easier to focus on that in AAA. Once a guy like Romero (who still hasn't pitched in AAA) has those things more ironed out, then he can come up to the MLB level and work on the final stage of development.


I don't know if Berrios is a particularly good example of that, though. What do you think was a bigger factor in Berrios' improvement in 2017 -- the extra 6 AAA starts, or learning from his 2016 MLB experience? Do you think he would have been substantially improved in 2016 with 6 more AAA starts before his call-up?

The other issue is, sometimes it just clicks for a prospect. If Thrylos's report on Romero's changeup is accurate (I have no idea), Romero might be at that point.
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Deduno Abides
Mar 13 2018 04:04 PM
In any scenario, it’s hard to see Romero getting more than 80 innings in the majors this year. It is preferable that they come at the end of the year, after he’s refined his pitches further on the farm. Also, if things are going well and he’s going well, he may be a Top 100 chip at the trading deadline.
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Andrew Thares
Mar 13 2018 04:15 PM

 

I don't know if Berrios is a particularly good example of that, though. What do you think was a bigger factor in Berrios' improvement in 2017 -- the extra 6 AAA starts, or learning from his 2016 MLB experience? Do you think he would have been substantially improved in 2016 with 6 more AAA starts before his call-up?
 

I think the big difference was some mechanical changes that he made between the 2016 and 2017 season. Had he spent the year in AAA he may have been able to make those changes in season as opposed to waiting for the offseason.

 

Jeff Sullivan wrote a great article about this last May. 

 

https://www.fangraph...f-jose-berrios/

I think the big difference was some mechanical changes that he made between the 2016 and 2017 season. Had he spent the year in AAA he may have been able to make those changes in season as opposed to waiting for the offseason.


He spent plenty of time in AAA in 2016 (17 starts). Even before his MLB debut, he had 16 career starts in AAA and 23 more at AA. Seems the MLB experience was necessary to expose the problem before it could even be addressed. (Perhaps it could have been exposed and addressed earlier with a 2015 promotion to MLB?)
Like every year we always have a "prospect" that should be on the team and they wait till June to bring him up. I get that the numbers are crunched but you can't tell me that he can't be possibly and im saying possibly better than Kyle Gibson, Phil Hughes, Tyler Duffy. This kid has some nasty stuff. I get that they want to protect him but come on sometimes you really should go with your gut that he could be a difference maker. I can't wait to see him in June making a start because we all know Kyle Gibson is gonna be his normal self 5+ era.
    • Mike Sixel likes this

The stuff definitely looks good in the 3 (of 8) innings I've seen.The 3 innings I saw were against mostly minor-league players.

 

But let's see him do it at least at the AAA level for a while, before we assume he's going to be immediately better than Gibson.  His demonstrated dominance in the minors was at the single-A level.At AA last year, hit/walk rates both took a hit and results were not 'knocking-on-the-door' results.If he's made the sustainable break-through with a pitch, let's see it in at least AAA results before we throw him into MLB games that should matter in terms of a playoff chase. 


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