Join Jays From the Couch as we review the highlights and lowlights of Toronto Blue Jays top prospect Jordan Romano’s 2017 season
Jordan Romano is like that 20 dollars you find in that coat you’ve not worn this last winter. A 2014 10th round pick who missed 2015 with an arm injury, Romano manufactured excellent seasons in 2016 and 2017. This has allowed him to climb the Top Prospect ladder all the way up to 19 from 23rd in the pre-season.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander was drafted as a reliever/closer but continues to shine as a starter. As a member of the Florida State League Co-Champion Dunedin Blue Jays, Jordan Romano led the D-Jays with 26 starts and 138 strikeouts. The real victory for Romano in 2017 can best be described as durability.
The Markham native’s fastball continues to improve, touching 96 mph. His slider has been described as a power slider which grades out at as above average. Romano shows maturity by mixing up the location of his FB (up and down).
Jordan Romano’s Career Stats
As I already said, Jordan Romano shined in 2017. He doubled his games started and innings pitched while maintaining his K/9 and BB/9. Romano had 3 starts with 9 strikeouts, a start with 8 strikeouts, and four starts with 7 strikeouts.
Romano did a great job of keeping the ball in the yard despite being a flyball pitcher. He allowed just 2 home runs while posting a 44.0 FB%, 0.81 GB/FB, and an outstanding 1.2 HR/FB rate.
The righty produced four outings which lasted 7 innings, two of 6 innings, and made it into the 6th one three other occasions. Jordan Romano pitched 5 innings eight times, all without using 90 pitches.
At-bats against Jordan Romano produced 3 outcomes: Strikeout, single, or flyball.
According to Baseball Reference, Jordan Romano’s best game occurred on June 10th when he posted a game score of 80 when he pitched 7 innings. He allowed one run on one hit, with 9 strikeouts. Jordan threw a season-high 102 pitches with 27 strikeouts looking and 5 swinging strikes in the win.
Dunedin’s ace continues to be wild. He threw 10 wild pitches and hit 14 batters while posting a 3.52 BB/9, 9.20 H/9, and 1.41 WHIP. While these numbers appear high, the rate at which his produced WP, HBP, and BB remained the same from 2016 to 2017. However, Jordan Romano allowed far too many hits, allowing 3.1 more hits per nine innings in 2017 over his 2016 numbers.
Jordan Romano needed greater than 90 pitches to get his team into the 5th four times. This was may have been influenced by the high number of walks issued and hits allowed. Romano allowed four walks three times and three walks six times. He allowed a season-high ten hits once and nine hits three times.
The starter struggled against left-handed batters, as they batted .352 off Jordan Romano. He induced a higher rate of GB from LHB than RHB but walks (34 BB) and strikeouts (54) were an issue. Romano held RHB to a .197 batting average while issuing just 19 walks and striking out 81.
MLB Pipeline has Jordan Romano reaching the majors in 2018. While possible, it is unlikely. Romano will be challenged in 2018 as a member of the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. I expect that Romano may struggle with home runs, as the Eastern League and Northeastern Delta Dental Stadium are not as pitcher-friendly as the Florida State League.
Many scouts expect Jordan Romano would eventually be moved to the bullpen and that may eventually happen; however, not in 2018.
Update: Jordan Romano was left off the 40-man roster, making eligible for next month’s (Dec.14th) Rule 5 draft. It’s possible that Toronto hopes that with Romano having zero experience about Advanced-A will detour teams from using their pick on the talented righty.
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