We're all excited to get a glimpse of Enny Romero, but some of us (not me) are more informed than others (me). Michael Valancius has watched Romero live twice, and on milb.tv 5+ times. The following is his scouting report from the comments of a different thread, but definitely worth it's own post. - Ian
1. His arsenal features three main pitches. His best is a fastball that normally sits 93-96, though he has had starts where he is more in the 94-98 range and touching triple digits. The pitch is explosive and overpowers right handed hitters when thrown on the inside corner. His next best pitch is a curveball that has come a long way. It has some 11-6 break and comes in decently hard. He can struggle to throw it for strikes at time, but when it is on, it is an extremely good pitch (70 grade). He threw some absolute beauties in the Future’s Game. His third pitch is a change-up, and it has also progressed to the point of where it is an average pitch, if not better. He has also thrown a cutter, but his usage of it is inconsistent and it isn’t a good pitch.
This probably seems like a major case of homer-ism, but trust me when I say that Romero has the stuff of a #1 starter. Here is some more evidence: http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9488237/futures-game-pitchers-best-stuff-mlb
2. His command is poor. While he can have some starts in which he has solid command, it normally is pretty poor. Agaisnt right handed hitters, his fastballs meant for the inner half will drift over the plate. If Romero had average command, his promotion would be receiving more attention.
3. His pitchability is poor. Romero actually has a pretty decent idea of what to do against right handed hitters. He spots his fastball inside (like 2012 Price) and will overpower the hitters. He will throw his curve ball as a chase pitch and his change-up low and away. Versus left handed hitters, he is a mess. For whatever reason, he struggles mightily against them, a baffling thing considering his plus fastball/curveball combination. Hopefully this is something he can figure out.
4. His strikeouts are surprisingly low. We have seen plenty of pitchers with good stuff (young Matt Moore, Blake Snell, etc…) get lots of strikeouts with good stuff and poor command. For whatever reason, Romero hasn’t been able to generate the strikeouts during the past two years. While he has been tough to hit, batters go down on strikes infrequently. He gets plenty of whiffs, but when the count gets to two strikes, he struggles to put batters away.
Romero is one of my favorite prospects in the system and I believe he is somewhat underrated. He gets dinged for old reports of mediocre secondaries, but from my observation, his offspeed pitches have been weapons this year. This isn’t to say he is without his warts; the command needs to improve if he wants to stay in the rotation. But what Romero does bring it elite stuff and the ability to dominate a line-up when he is on. The Rays are taking a gamble that he has one of his strong days, and lets hope Romero can come through.
Suggested further reading: http://bullpenbanter.com/buttering-up-biscuits-romero/