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Article: Starter Or Reliever, That Is The Romero Question

fernando romero johan santana derek falvey wes johnson rocco baldelli
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#21 Tom Froemming

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 10:11 AM

I'd stick Pineda and Perez in the bullpen and put Romero and Mejia in the rotation.

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#22 jkcarew

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 10:26 AM

...Romero could be a force in the bullpen. And that’s something that Falvey acknowledged as well. “Fernando is someone who you watch THE FIRST FEW INNINGS and you think, ‘that could be pretty special out of the bullpen.'’

 

Doesn't this make it sound that there are questions about his stamina...how long he can maintain his velocity/stuff on any given outing? That no matter the development of pitches, he may simply be significantly more effective as a reliever than a starter?

 

That's what it sounds like they're saying to me. But it seems early in his development to be making that conclusion...at least definitively. And I don't know how you answer that question without keeping him in a starting role to see if the added year, and further distance from the TJ, moves that needle.

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#23 TRex

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 10:28 AM

You can try him out in the bullpen, but it would be an absolute waste if he doesn't have the physical ability to pitch on back to back days (not everyone does).


#24 Jham

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 10:38 AM

Good pitchers are good pitchers. Failed starters frequently make good relievers. Failed relievers NEVER make goods starters. Start him in the pen. If he dominates and you need rotation help, stretch him out. He'll have more time to develop pitches ot of the pen anyway.
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#25 by jiminy

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 11:15 AM

 

Would prefer as a starter, but think it is more important to have him develop at the major league level and help the Twins win this year.He could move back to starting, but sending him to Rochester to me does little good. If he dominates there, what will the Twins do?.So use him in long relief to start and move to starting if one of the starters fails or you can trade one.

The problem with using him in the majors as a reliever is that he will concentrate on using his best pitches, to get people out. What he needs to do is improve his secondary pitches.You can't do that in the majors, with games on the line.

 

That's what the minor leagues are for. If the goal is to succeed as a starter, keep him in AAA, where he can focus on improving his secondary pitches. Only in the minors can he afford to use his least effective pitches, even when it's not the best way to get batters out. That's exactly what he needs to do: Throw lots of curveballs and sliders, even if it means getting knocked around a little. And when they stop hitting them, THEN he's ready for the majors. And he'll arrive with four pitches, as good as he can make them without facing MLB hitters, and take it from there.

 

I don't get why people say he'll improve faster in the majors, and is wasting his time in the minors. Can he work on his weaker off speed pitches in real games? Maybe I'm wrong, and he can work on his other pitches on the side, while going fastball/slider in games. I don't see it though. At some point he needs to use them to improve.

 

To me, the only real justification for stunting the development of a potential starter is if you're in a pennant race. If every out counts, and you've got a fireballer who can help you in the pen right now, sure, screw the future and go for it. But for where the Twins are now, I would say, If you want to make him a reliever, do it because you're sure he'll never master a changeup or a curve. But if there's still hope, give the guy a chance to reach his potential. If our real window is a year or two away, do what gives you the best chance of turning him into a top of the line starter. And if he's not ready yet, do what you can to get him there. Which is to focus on his secondary pitches, not the ones he's already mastered.

 

If the season goes surprisingly well, and the Twins are in contention, and you need another arm, grab him from AAA and throw him in the bullpen. He'll be even better for having worked on his secondary pitches. But unless you think his offspeed pitches are hopeless and are ready to make him a reliever permanently, I wouldn't pull the plug quite yet.

 

But the only point in making him a reliever now is if the Twins are in win-now mode, and they really need him; or if they plan to throw him out there when the game is already lost, and he can experiment without a cost.

 

If the Twins get so far out of the race that they're throwing in the towel, I guess theycould let him work on his curve and change with major league batters then, too, even if it means getting knocked around. But otherwise, I'd let him work on his off speed pitches in AAA.

Edited by by jiminy, 11 February 2019 - 11:18 AM.

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#26 ahart10

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 11:24 AM

The problem with using him in the majors as a reliever is that he will concentrate on using his best pitches, to get people out. What he needs to do is improve his secondary pitches. You can't do that in the majors, with games on the line.


Their is no substitute for learning how to get major league hitters out, ask Berrios. Taylor Rogers learned a slider last year during the season while working out of the pen.
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#27 gman

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 11:38 AM

Since the first 4 spots in the rotation are pretty well locked down, barring a spring training trade, send Romero to AAA. Let him work on an offspeed pitch and curveball.Why would anyone converta top starter prospect to the pen at age 23? 

 The team has invested a lot in player development the last 2 years and added quite a bit in the off season to the system coaching staff. Let them develop the players with the best stuff. For the Twins future what does it matter if he doesn't become a full time starter until he's 24?

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#28 rgarfinkle

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 11:45 AM

Appropos of nothing, but an observation about the picture that accompanied this story, which was taken in late May or June of last year: only Romero is still with the organization.The other five are all gone.

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#29 dbminn

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 12:32 PM

 

Their is no substitute for learning how to get major league hitters out, ask Berrios. Taylor Rogers learned a slider last year during the season while working out of the pen.

 

Berrios was up twice in 2016 for 14 starts. In 2017, he began the season in AAA. There is plenty for a young SP to learn in AAA when they are making physical adjustments. 

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#30 Doomtints

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 12:42 PM

He could be a good starter but there's no doubt he'd be a good reliever.

 

I say work him in, a la Johan Santana, as a reliever for a while. If he flashes greatness and longevity, a rotation spot will open up sooner rather than later, should the team wish to go that direction.

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#31 Mike Sixel

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 12:42 PM

Berrios began 2017 in AAA for zero good reason.... Still can't figure that out at all.

Edited by Mike Sixel, 11 February 2019 - 12:43 PM.

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It's IL now, btw, not DL.....


#32 Tomj14

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:02 PM

 


But the only point in making him a reliever now is if the Twins are in win-now mode, and they really need him; or if they plan to throw him out there when the game is already lost, and he can experiment without a cost.

Aren't the Twins in a win-now mode, right now?

They signed Cruz, didn't trade Gibson or anybody else yet. Seems like they are trying to win now.

Every team should be in a win now mode until they forced not to be.

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#33 FormerMinnasotan

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:58 PM

I would rather keep Romero as a starter at this point. Outside of Brusdar Graterol there is no pitcher with a higher ceiling (Lewis Thorpe, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves, Zach Littell, and Tyler Wells have question marks on how well their stuff will play in the Bigs). To put Romero in the ‘pen now is to set the rotation back 2-4 more years till Graterol or maybe Blaine Enlow has more than their feet wet in the Bigs. Also don’t discount how few minor league innings Romero has, his road to get to his debut was considerably quicker than either Berrios or Gonsalves with overall better results.
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#34 ChrisKnutson

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 04:01 PM

I don’t care where he starts the season, Romero is a starter. Period. Honestly, we should’ve never signed Pineda (Perez too)... If it weren’t for that move, maybe we could’ve had both Keuchel and Romero in our rotation this season.
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#35 RatherBeGolfing

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 04:07 PM

I'd like to see him used creatively really, I have my doubts on him as a long term starter but I'd hate to limit him to being a one inning reliever as well. I know it's cliche but an Andrew Miller role (obviously assuming he can handle the tight situations, which is a big ask) may be where he ends up in the next few years.

 

But I'm all for experimenting with him and seeing what comes up

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#36 Steve Lein

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 04:21 PM

 

I would rather keep Romero as a starter at this point. Outside of Brusdar Graterol there is no pitcher with a higher ceiling (Lewis Thorpe, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves, Zach Littell, and Tyler Wells have question marks on how well their stuff will play in the Bigs). To put Romero in the ‘pen now is to set the rotation back 2-4 more years till Graterol or maybe Blaine Enlow has more than their feet wet in the Bigs. Also don’t discount how few minor league innings Romero has, his road to get to his debut was considerably quicker than either Berrios or Gonsalves with overall better results.

 

Be careful with your final comparison, because it's not true. Quicker? Yes. Better? No.

 

MiLB ERA:

 

Berrios - 2.77

Gonsalves - 2.46

Romero - 3.02

 

MiLB K/9IP:

 

Berrios - 9.6

Gonsalves - 9.5

Romero - 8.3

 

MiLB WHIP:

 

Berrios - 1.08

Gonsalves - 1.10

Romero - 1.19

 

And it doesn't get better if you compare only AAA numbers or AAA and AA. The gap widens more if only looking there. He's still got work to do and I like the idea of him doing so out of the bullpen. Before last season I was on record here saying I didn't think he'd start a game for the Twins because of those few innings he had. Thought he was a great candidate to come up out of the bullpen when he approached any innings limit. I was happily wrong on that, but I still like this path for him in 2019 if he doesn't earn the starting gig. He is one of their best arms for sure. Definitely will be interesting to follow during spring training.

 

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Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)

#37 IndianaTwin

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 04:30 PM

 

It doesn't have to be either or, Seth,

 

He could be used every fourth or fifth game as a long reliever.Come in for one of the starters who doesn't pitch deep into games and finish their game.That could give him three to five innings in say 30+ games during the year...say 135+/- innings.Would likely not see the lineup turn over for a third time which should lead to success for him and the Twins.Would also set him up, innings wise, for being a starter in 2020.  

 

A side benefit would be that the rest of a seven man bullpen would get a day off and save wear and tear on everyone else.

 

Agreed that it doesn't have to be either/or. I get that people think of going from 146 to 165-170 this year, but let's not forget that 146 comes on the heels of 125, 90, 0, and 12. I'd also be into a plan that target last year's inning total. 

 

Another side benefit is that he'd get the year with the major league pitching coach that hopefully is going to be his buddy for the next 10 or so years. 

 


#38 ahart10

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 04:33 PM

Putting him in the bullpen this year doesn’t exclude him from starting in years to come. The Cardinals have done this with lots of their pitchers over the years and have become the model mid market team.
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#39 MN_ExPat

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 05:38 PM

 

That said, a move to the pen is not a permanent situation.It took Chris Sale dominating in the pen for 2 seasons before he became an ace.I think that a year in the pen for Romero working towards becoming a better pitcher might do wonders for his development as a starter.  

 

Four of the penciled in rotation arms this season are free agents next off-season, so there will be plenty of room for Romero.

Excellent point. I'd fully agree that using him in the pen this year wouldn't be a bad idea and may actually be beneficial to him. We also saw this type of usage with Adam Wainwright when he first broke into the league. He worked out of the pen a lot initial and still went on to be a first rate starter.


#40 DocBauer

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 08:40 PM

I'd stick Pineda and Perez in the bullpen and put Romero and Mejia in the rotation.


This! Absolutely!

I hope to eat crow about Perez, but I thought his signing was head scratching at best. Now, I think there is a good chance Pineda dies well. But Perez? The final spot shku,d be an audition for anyone and everyone, including Mejia and Romero specifically. I even envisioned a scenario where they could see innings out of the pen...on a regulated basis...and piggyback one another in the rotation.

I can read the numbers that are not so great in Romero's resume. But I can also read scouting reports and watch him on the mound and see what he is capable of. He missed a great deal of time and was still performing well and promoted quickly. He is a young man with tons of potential still harnessing his stuff. I get his long term role could be as an outstanding RP. And that is still a good thing! But no way do you convert a young arm with his potential to the bullpen at this time.

However...he is one of the Twins best 12-13 arms for sure. And if your plan is to not use him in an old school, regimented fashion, then he can still pitch a lot of ML innings and continue to hone his stuff for a move back to the rotation. It's been done before with great success. And the Cardinals are somewhat known for doing this. But as has been mentioned, the Twins also did this with Santana and Liriano.

I am fine with him, and Mejia, in the pen to begin 2019. But it would be a HUGE mistake to slot them in as situational or 1 IP guys.
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