2019 Level: A
Pitches (current/future value)
Knuckle Curve: 40/45
Most Likely Future Role: #5 Starter
Ceiling: #4 Starter
What we know: Rom isn’t your typically teenage pitcher, he has more in common with the near ready crafty lefties in AAA than he does with other 19 year old guys in Low A ball. He had one of the strongest statistical seasons in the minors considering age and level. He achieved this despite having a fastball that topped out at 92mph and some outings sat 87-88. The pitch does have good spin and plays above it’s velocity, but it’s below average velocity. He gets his results by being able to throw three offspeed pitches for strikes. He has uncommon feel for two breaking balls, the slider being the better of the two with nasty sweeping break. The only thing keeping it from plus is that he only throws it 80-82 which may hurt it’s effectiveness as advanced hitters are able to distinguish it from his fastball. He also throws a knuckle curve. He can land it for strikes at will, but it lacks exceptional movement. His real weapon against opposite handed batters is a quality splitter with late fade and drop. His feel for the split isn’t always there, but it’s his best chance for a future plus pitch.
What we don’t know: Will the fastball velocity increase? Rom is only 19 so there is the temptation to project more velo. However, Rom is very physical for a 19 year old with a mature build. How much will his command improve? He can throw all his pitches for strikes but is currently has limited command. Advanced hitters are going to take advantage of pitches left in the zone but not located, especially given his mediocre velocity. So it’ll be important to at least develop more fastball command.
What we think: We like Rom’s chances of sticking in a rotation on the strength of his quality offspeed offerings to attack hitters on both sides of the plate. There is risk because his distance from the majors and that fact he has no wiggle room to lose any velocity, but he looks like a backend starter if things go well. His fastball is likely going to remain fringy, but I think command will improve to the point where he can consistently make use of it above average spin and locate it at the top of the zone where it will play the best. Rom wore out a bit down the stretch in his first full pro season, so that’s something to watch for in 2020, although it’s not something I’m really concerned about. Rom will likely move as quickly as the Orioles brass sees fit. I doubt he’s really tested until AA and above.
Another Take: Rom is lot like Wells at the same age. He’s got a fringe fastball but good offspeed stuff that he can locate when he stays in his delivery and doesn’t fall off. His spiked curveball can be major league average at times and his change shows decent depth and run. He’s more of a pitchability lefty and because of that his ceiling is a bit muted, but that same pitchability at a young age makes him worth keeping an eye on.