While he may not have a blazing fastball, the 21-year old left-hander made his way to AA and by the end of the year was his team’s best starter not named Grayson Rodriguez. He comes in at #11.
Age (as of Jun 30th) : 21
2021 Level: FCL/A-
Pitches (current/future value)
Most Likely Future Role: 4th/5th starter
Ceiling: Mid-Rotation starter
What we know: A 21-year old four pitch lefty that made his way to AA and became one of the team’s best pitchers down the stretch is nothing to sneeze at. His detractors will point towards Alex Wells and Zac Lowther as similar pitchers who found success at the major league tough to come to by in their first taste, but there are several things that make Rom a better overall prospect than the afore mentioned pitchers.
Rom’s fastball is a 89-92 MPH pitch that can top out occasionally at 94 MPH. On it’s own, it’s not a great pitch though he does a good job of commanding the pitch around the strike zone and getting swings and misses up in the zone with the pitch. It does tend to get barreled if he leaves it in the middle of the plate and it’s probably never going to be a great pitch for him, but luckily he comes with a number of solid secondaries to make it play up at times. Rom’s best and most consistent pitches are is slider and curveball, both of which can flash plus and miss bats in the zone. He’ll drop down side arm occasion against a lefty contributing to them slashing just .223/.268/.300/.568 off him in 138 PAs. He can pitch backwards at times using his breaking balls to get ahead of the count and he can throw them bother for strikes consistently.
His change, which has been called a plus pitch by some other observers was his fourth pitch this year. It was an inconsistent offering that seemed to come in too straight and hard and he has the least feel for that pitch. In fact, the development of that pitch is what will determine whether or not Rom can stick as a starter or go to the pen as a mulit inning reliever.
While his line drive rate against has gone up at each level, his K/BB at 5.2 was career best at AA and he struck out 10.6/9. Really pitched well down the stretch not allowing a run in his last three starts, striking out 18 and walking just one over 14 innings. On top of it, while baseball has gone to a heavy fly ball approach, Rom still gets groundballs at 54.8% rate in A+ and 52.9% in AA, much better than both Zach Lowther and Alex Wells at the same levels. The ability to miss bats and get ground balls in pretty unique in baseball nowadays.
What we don’t know: Similiar to other pitchers, can he hold up to a 100 pitches and keep his stuff? His stuff generally looked the same in the 70-80 pitch range and in past years he’s been able to get into the 90 pitch range without losing his stuff. Can he develop a consistent change? If he can, it will allow his fastball to play up and his ceiling rises.
What we think: Rom is a guy that most scouts will say “He’ll need to prove it” and that’s because he doesn’t have that blazing fastball. What he does though is throw three pitches for strikes and occasionally have a good change up that can make him pretty unhittable for minor league hitters. He’s a smart pitcher on the mound and should make the most of his stuff as he moves up. If he gets a tick more velocity (there was a some velocity jump this year) or can find a good consistent changeup, his ceiling bumps to a mid-rotation starter.