Drew Romo Shows Off Two-Way Talent At Under Armour All-America Game
CHICAGO — Drew Romo is the top-ranked prep catcher in the 2020 draft class thanks to his premier defensive skills and switch-hitting ability at the plate. A product of The Woodlands (Texas) High, Romo is a Louisiana State commit, but he has a shot to become a first-round pick next June.
He was one of the five standout players at Sunday's workout prior to the main event last Monday.
Baseball America caught up with Romo in Chicago ahead of the game to talk about how he got started catching, the challenges of being a switch-hitter and which pitchers in the 2020 class impress him the most behind the dish and challenge him as a hitter.
Baseball America: What kind of player are you?
Drew Romo: I’m definitely a better defensive player than an offensive player. I’m a catcher, so I feel that’s more important to me. I also play with a lot of energy, a lot of passion. Being the catcher you have to take up a leadership role, so I try my best to communicate and keep up the pace of the game when I’m behind the plate and do different things to kind of lead the team.
BA: Did you gravitate towards catcher because you were a leader or did the leadership come because that’s where you played?
DR: I think it’s probably a little bit of both. It goes both ways because I wasn’t a catcher my whole life, I started like five years ago being mainly a catcher. But I always had good leadership qualities and then becoming a catcher just gave me more.
BA: What position did you play before?
DR: Shortstop, so that also came with leadership qualities with that.
BA: Why did you move from shortstop to catcher?
DR: Not many guys did it, so it was something that kind of appealed to me. It seemed fun, and playing catcher reaffirmed that it is really fun. You have to be locked in every single pitch.
BA: Who is your favorite MLB team?
DR: Houston Astros. Just because I’m close to the Astros, but I’ve always been a Yankees fan my whole life.
BA: What was it like being a fan when the Astros were tanking?
DR: I mean . . . yeah. I don’t really have a reaction to that (laughs). It was kind of cool because I remember in 2014—I was just talking about this yesterday with my brothers, but in 2014 they finished I think fourth in the AL West and then Sports Illustrated predicted they were going to win in 2017 and then ended up happening. It was pretty crazy.
I’m 45 minutes north of Houston.
BA: Who is your favorite player? Why?
DR: Growing up it was Derek Jeter and then right now it’s Christian Yelich. He’s really fun to watch. And I’m a switch-hitter so my lefty swing I kind of try to do some of the things that he does, some of the things that he incorporates in his swing and also I just like the way he plays the game. He’s really humble and I like the Brewers also, they are fun to watch. Miller Park is cool.
BA: What side are you natural from?
BA: Is that something where you try to make the swing as similar as possible from both sides or do you allow for some mechanical differences?
DR: Well righthanded is my natural side, but I’ve hit so much more lefthanded because of all the righthanded pitchers that I’ve become better lefthanded. I try to keep them as similar as possible, but there are just some things that have to be different. Just some of the mechanics in your swing. I try to keep them the same, but sometimes they just end up different.
BA: How long have you been switch-hitting?
DR: Ever since I was eight years old. My whole life.
BA: When did you realize you might be good enough to be an Under Armour All-American?
DR: Good question. I’ve really known my whole life that I could compete with anybody, but it was just a matter of getting my name out there and being noticed because I have always felt like I’ve been a talented player my whole life . . . I’ve worked really hard to get where I’m at, but I didn’t really get a lot of spotlight until a couple years ago, and I’m thankful for that.
BA: Yeah, I feel like your name started to blow up after making the 18U team as an underclassman.
DR: That was the main turning point.
BA: What was that experience like? There are a few underclass guys on every team but being the everyday catcher as an underclassman is rare.
DR: That definitely surprised me. We were training in Fort Lauderdale for a week before we left for Panama and when I found out I was the only catcher who made it, I was really surprised and I couldn’t believe I’d made it. I called my parents and I told them and they couldn’t believe it either. It was definitely one of the biggest moments of my life.
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BA: Who is the toughest pitcher you’ve faced in the 2020 class?
DR: Umm . . . I haven’t faced Nate Savino, but I’ve heard he’s pretty hard to hit. Hopefully I face him here. He’s on the other team so maybe I’ll face him. I’ve heard he’s pretty tough. Personally, me hitting against pitchers, I think Mick Abel is probably the toughest I’ve hit off of so far. He just has a high velo and has a good, hard slider to go with it that he throws to my back foot and I can’t hit it (laughs).
BA: From a catching standpoint who impresses you the most when you are receiving them?
DR: Also Mick. I’ve caught him also, he’s one of the better ones. I haven’t hit off of Jared Kelley or Jared Jones, but they are also both really good.
BA: What are your goals for this summer?
DR: Just always trying to get bigger, stronger and faster. It’s a little tough to do that with all the baseball, you are always traveling and going out of town, but that just comes with managing your diet, your eating and getting in the weight room whenever you can. Staying on top of things.
BA: Talk to me about your commitment to LSU. What is it about the program that you are excited about?
DR: I took a visit there my freshman year. It was to one of the regional games against Southeastern Louisiana and it was crazy. It was packed. Sold out. We only had standing room only tickets and it was crazy. The whole stadium just wraps around and it’s electric. A really cool atmosphere.
BA: If you didn’t play baseball, what sport would you play?
DR: I played basketball a little bit in seventh or eighth grade. I wasn’t too good (laughs), but I’d probably play that.
BA: What kind of music do you listen to?
DR: Rap and country.
BA: Favorite artist?
DR: Probably Travis Scott, he’s from Houston.
BA: What is your walk-up song?
DR: In high school it was "Beibs in the Trap," by Travis Scott.