|JoJo Romero, image- MiLB.com|
The six-foot tall 190-pounder was the Phils’ 4th round draft selection in 2016. That year he helped Yavapai College, the same school that the Phillies drafted Kenny Giles from in 2011, clinch the JuCo World Series, leading the way with an 11-5 record, a 3.64 ERA and a 10.2 K/9 mark. He also tossed a complete game gem to earn the win in the title game.
After signing with the Phillies, Romero joined the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters. There he notched a 2-2 record with a 2.56 ERA while striking out 31 and walking 11 in 45 2/3 innings.
In 2017, he got off to a remarkable start with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. In 13 starts, Romero tallied a 5-1 record with a 2.11 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 mark.
The California native was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater in late June. In 10 starts for the Threshers, Romero posted a 5-2 record with a 2.24 ERA and an 8.4 K/9 mark.
With an electric arm, the 21-year-old features a good mix of offerings including a fastball that sits in the 94-95 MPH range, a curve ball, a slider and a change-up. He struggled with the command of his fastball in the early going last year, but that was attributed to the considerable movement of the pitch. Stabilizing his back foot and working with coaches proved to be the remedy for that concern and command was not a lasting issue.
Romero tends to draw a lot of ground ball outs. Also, he seems to regularly have a good plan and is confident on the mound, throwing each of his pitches in any count. Opponents have mustered just a .232 batting average against while facing Romero thus far in his pro career.
A ball of energy in the locker room, Romero is a guy that teammates enjoy being around and can help the club by being a motivator of those around him, even when he’s not in the game.
The Phillies plan to have Romero stick as a starter, but he could possibly move to a relief role at some point, depending on what opportunities and/or openings lie ahead.
Look for Romero to have a go in the Eastern League this year with Double-A Reading. A potential estimated time of arrival in the big leagues would be more than a season away.
You can keep track of this year's Phillies prospect countdown at this link.