Rangers believe Romano can help bullpen
*This story was originally published on the Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball website. You can read it here.
By Roberto Angotti
Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball
Team Italy pitcher Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) was a Toronto Blue Jays top 30 prospect prior to the Rule 5 Draft on December 13, 2018.
Left unprotected by not being added to the Jays’ 40-man roster last month, the hard-throwing 25-year-old right-handed hurler was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the third round and then traded him to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations.
Team Italy supporters recall when Romano pitched a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts to pick up the win against home team Mexico in front of a sold-out Estadio Charros de Jalisco in the World Baseball Classic on March 9, 2017.
Romano had a successful 2017 campaign at class-A Advanced Dunedin (26 starts, 7-5 record, 3.39 ERA) and averaged nine strikeouts per nine innings pitched. He was named 2017 MiLB.com Organizational All-Star (Toronto Blue Jays).
This season proved to be another monumental year for Romano, as he was selected as Canadian Baseball Network minor league pitcher of the year. In addition, he was voted Eastern League pitcher of the year as well as named Eastern League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star. After making 25 starts at double-A New Hampshire and going 11-8 with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP, Romano was promoted to triple-A Buffalo and won his only start. He made quite an impression averaging 8.2 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per nine innings pitched.
"He has started, but we're going to give him an opportunity to win a bullpen spot,” said Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. “He is certainly capable of being stretched out and giving multiple innings. We have seen him in shorter stints, and his stuff has played up."
Romano now must make the Rangers' 25-man roster out of 2019 Spring Training and be active for at least 90 days of the season. Should the proud Italian Canadian not make the big league roster, he has to clear waivers or be sent back to the Blue Jays organization for half of his $100,000 Draft price.
However, Daniels believes Romano will find success in the Texas bullpen.
"He has the profile of a type of guy who has transitioned from starter to the bullpen and stepped up." said Daniels. "Just like a lot of guys, you shorten guys up and their stuff plays up. They end up having more success. That's how we're going to look at him...as a reliever."