- Full name Ricardo Romero
- Born 11/06/1984 in Los Angeles, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 210 / Bats: R / Throws: L
- School Cal State Fullerton
- Debut 04/09/2009
Drafted in the 1st round (6th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2005 (signed for $2,400,000).
View Draft ReportCal State Fullerton could approach or even top the draft record of 13 players from one school this year, but Romero is the only one assured of going in the first five rounds. In fact, he is the favorite to be the first lefthander selected overall, possibly in the first 10-15 picks. Romero has three solid, major league-ready pitches that he can throw for strikes almost at will, including a fastball that sits at 90-91 mph and touches 93-94. He also has an excellent curveball and a better feel for a changeup this year after he reduced his reliance on his curve. But Romero gets his highest grades for his makeup, temperament and competitive zeal. He is an excellent student of the game who understands the science of pitching, and is a master at controlling the tempo of a game. He often has one poor inning a game, gets mad at himself and responds by pitching better the rest of the way. He also holds runners well and fields his position as well as any college pitcher. He has improved by leaps and bounds since being a lightly recruited player from a suburban Los Angeles high school. He was the top prospect in the Great Lakes League after his freshman year and quickly established himself as one of the aces on last year's College World Series championship team, going 14-4, 3.37 before becoming one of Team USA's most effective pitchers last summer. He has posted similar numbers this year, but has considerably boosted his strikeout ratio from 7.3 per nine innings to 10.0.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Late bloomer or bust? That's the question surrounding Romero, whom the Blue Jays selected sixth overall in 2005 and signed for a club-record $2.4 million. He has spent the bulk of the past three seasons in Double-A and been passed by several lefties in the system. Romero may not be ace he was in college, but his stuff still will play in the big leagues if he throws more strikes with it. He pitches at 91-92 mph and touches 94, but he struggles to command his fastball for strikes. His power curveball usually arrives in the high 70s and features sharp downward break, while his power changeup has enough separation and sink to fool batters. Romero is best suited by pitching to spots and keeping batters off balance instead of trying to overpower them. He had some success in Triple-A when he emphasized his high-80s two-seamer, a slower version of his curve and a fringy slider, though he still needs to cut down on his walks. He sometimes telegraphs his breaking pitches by altering his arm slot. Romero still needs to show more consistency to reach his ceiling as a No. 3 or 4 starter. Placed on the 40-man roster this offseason, he'll return to Triple-A to begin 2009.
The first pitcher selected in the 2005 draft, Romero went sixth overall and signed for a club-record $2.4 million. He missed the first month of the 2006 season with elbow stiffness, then struggled through much of his Double-A stint upon his return. He again had a difficult time at New Hampshire again in 2007, and again missed time with injury, in this case shoulder soreness. At his best, Romero has two offspeed offerings that grade as plus pitches. His changeup, which travels about 10 mph slower than his fastball and bottoms out as it reaches the plate, is a go-to pitch versus righthanders. He also throws an 83-84 mph vulcan change, which behaves like a splitter. His weapon of choice against lefties is his 12-to-6 curveball. He has good life on his fastball, which sits at 89-91 and touches 93. For someone who was supposed to be a polished college pitcher, Romero's command has been disappointing. The Blue Jays have worked to simplify his delivery, trying to make it easier for him to get extension out over his front leg, enabling him to work down and to the corners. When he doesn't, his pitches are elevated and his curveball is flat. He has much more success throwing his curve as a chase pitch than he does throwing it for strikes, mostly because it has such huge break. Often he finds his slider easier to command, but it's not nearly as devastating as his curve. His injuries haven't been serious, but they have limited him to just 218 innings in his two full seasons. Romero has gone 5-13, 4.98 in 30 Double-A starts, and he has taken his pro struggles hard. He'll return to New Hampshire, where a strong first half would give him some needed confidence and put him back on track to become a mid-rotation starter in the big leagues.
The first pitcher selected in the 2005 draft, Romero went sixth overall and signed for a club-record $2.4 million. He teamed with Jason Windsor (now with the Athletics) to lead Cal State Fullerton to the 2004 national title as a sophomore, and was a second-team All-American as a junior. Romero missed the first month of the 2006 season with mild elbow stiffness, though it's not a concern. Romero's best pitch is a plus changeup, which bottoms out and is highly effective against righthanders. He pitches at 91 mph with his fastball and can go get 93 when he needs it. He features above-average life on his fastball, including good arm-side movement with his two-seamer. His curveball is average if inconsistent. Romero struggled upon his promotion to Double-A New Hampshire when he couldn't locate his curve. He developed some bad habits at high Class A Dunedin, where he could put hitters away using just his fastball and changeup. Everything seemed to click, though, once he adjusted his delivery to improve his direction to the plate. His fastball and curveball command improved, and he threw on a better downhill plane. Romero advanced to Double-A in his first full season and finished strong, going 2-3, 2.75 in the final month. He'll likely return there to begin 2007 but should reach Triple-A Syracuse at some point during the season. He's on schedule to join the Toronto rotation no later than 2008.
A second-team All-American as a junior, Romero was the first pitcher selected in the 2005 draft. The Blue Jays took him sixth overall and signed him for a club-record $2.4 million. He was one of Cal State Fullerton's two aces on its 2004 national championship team. Romero is poised on the mound and attacks hitters with command of three above-average pitches. He moves his fastball in and out and usually throws it at 90-92 mph. He gets late action in the zone with his two-seamer. His power downer curve is sometimes his second pitch, while other times it's his changeup, which he uses to combat righthanders. Romero doesn't have dominant stuff. While his delivery is efficient now, the Jays are working to get his fastball on a more downward plane. After a heavy amateur workload, Toronto limited him to a strict 50-60 pitch count during his debut. Romero likely will return to high Class A Dunedin to start 2006; with a strong spring, he could start in Double-A. He should move quickly and is a safe bet to reach his ceiling as a No. 3 starter.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Curveball in the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009
- Rated Best Changeup in the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008
- Rated Best Curveball in the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008
- Rated Best Changeup in the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007