Born: December 24, 1994 (19 years old)in the Dominican Republic
Height: 6'0”, Weight: 215 lbs.
Fernando Romero was signed as a16-year-old international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. His signed for $260,000, which was the 4th largest bonus handed out by the Twins that year. At the time of his signing his fastball was his best pitch, sitting in the upper 80s and low90s.
In 2012 Romero made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League. His numbers were solid for a 17 year old facing a lot of more experienced competition. He pitched 31 innings with a 4.65 ERA, walked just over 4 batters per 9 innings and struck out just over 8 per 9.
Last year he moved up to the Gulf Coast League, where he anchored the pitching staff along with fellow international signee Lewis Thorpe. Romero pitched 45 innings with a 1.60 ERA, improving his walk rate to 2.6 per 9 and his strikeout rate to 9.4 per 9. Scouting reports had his fastball sitting in the low 90s and touching 95 mph on occasion. His hard curveball has also emerged as a swing-and-miss pitch with sharp break. His changeup is reportedly furthest behind but has shown good action. While we can't read too much into GCL stats, his ability has been noticed, and he placed highly on several preseason Twins prospect lists, most notably16th on mlb.com's list and 12th on BaseballAmerica's.
Romero seemed to be on track to continue climbing the ladder through the organization one step at a time, starting with the Elizabethtown Twins this year. However,reports yesterday indicate that he will be joining the Cedar RapidsKernels. He'll get a chance to get a few more weeks of game action and will probably have the chance to finish out the season with theKernels if he pitches well.
His success will largely hinge on his ability to improve his changeup, which will be an essential pitch if he is to remain a starter. He will also need to continue improving his command and control. If he can do this he could make it as a starter in the majors, most likely a #3 but maybe even better. If he can't get his changeup working he might still end up as a dominant reliever, so he should be fun to watch over the following years.
Edited by 2wins87, 04 June 2014 - 08:58 AM.