JFtC Takes A look at Jordan Romano‘s encouraging start with the Toronto Blue Jays
It has been a bit of a wild ride for Jordan Romano. The Markham, Ontario native was drafted in the 2014 Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, who he grew up cheering for. From 2014-2018 he made a steady progression through the Jays’ minor league system despite missing the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery.
Having built a strong farm system, the Jays chose different prospects to add to the 40-man roster this past off season, leaving Romano unprotected. Romano was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Chicago White Sox, who traded him to the Texas Rangers. The Rangers decided not to keep Romano on their major league roster and instead returned him to the Jays on March 24, 2019.
Romano was used as a starting pitcher in 69 of his 99 MiLB games. However the Jays used him in relief in 14 of his 17 games at Triple-A in 2019 prior to his call up. In his minor league career, Romano previously threw a curveball and changeup in addition to fastball and slider. So far in his MLB career, however, he has been a two pitch pitcher, sticking to his fastball and slider. As a two pitch pitcher, his best role would seem to be as a reliever.
Earlier this season prior to his call up to the Jays, the decision was made for Romano to be exclusively a relief pitcher. In his last nine outings with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, he gave up 1just one earned run on six hits and three walks while striking out 18 batters in 12.1 innings. He was ready for the next step in his career.
Romano was called up to the Jays on June 12, 2019 and made his major league debut that same day. He has been perfect in two innings with the Jays so far. He has yet to allow a base runner, while striking out three of the six batters he has faced.
It’s only been two games, but so far so good. His latest outing was against the Houston Astros who are 5th in the American League in runs scored. The Astros have shown that they are more than capable of beating up on sub par pitching. They scored 15 runs on June 14 and seven runs on June 15, the first two games of this past weekend’s series.
Romano’s fastball speed have averaged 97.1 MPH and his slider has averaged 88.1 MPH. For comparison purposes, established closer Ken Giles also throws fastballs and sliders. Giles’ average fall ball speed in 2019 has been 97.7 and his average slider speed has been 87.
It has only been two MLB games but so far, Romano looks like a candidate for high-leverage relief innings going forward. In a rebuilding season such as 2019, the Blue Jays goal is to build a contending team for the future. They have several talented position players who they think can help them win down the road. Good pitching is needed to add to that, especially if closer Ken Giles is hurt for an extended period, or is traded, as rumours suggest he may be.
So far in 2019 there has been a revolving door around the Blue Jays pitching staff, both in the rotation and the bullpen. So far the Jays have used 25 pitchers (not counting catcher Luke Maile’s two games in relief in blowout losses) and it’s only mid-June. Some have underperformed. Some have been put on waivers only to be claimed by other organizations. Some have less than two years team control remaining and could be traded by the deadline.
One thing is certain- if Romano continues to pitch well there will be plenty of opportunities for him to help the Blue Jays in the future.
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