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2013 Predictions: Ricky Romero
Since his rookie year with the Blue Jays in 2009, Ricky Romero has proven himself to be a workhorse. He steadily improved, earning an All-Star appearance in 2011 with a 2.92 ERA. However, in 2012, everything fell apart for Ricky as he walked a league high 105 batters and his ERA ballooned to 5.77. Romero, coaches, journalists and fans alike grasped for explanations for Romero’s struggles, but few answers were forthcoming. We hoped that he was back on the right track every time he put together a decent start only to be disappointed the next time out. At the end of the year, Romero underwent minor surgery on his pitching elbow. He has refused to blame the elbow pain for his struggles last year, but is obviously hopeful that the surgery will help him put both the pain and the results of 2012 behind him. It’s also been revealed that tendinitis in his knees has been bothering Romero. Clearly the hope is that improved health and a fresh start will allow Romero to return to his old form, but there are few players that are harder to project heading into 2013 than Ricky Romero.
Pitching Stats (Past Three Seasons):
Perhaps the most perplexing part of Romero’s 2012 was that there were few obvious differences between the Romero we saw last year and the ‘old’ Romero. His velocity was the same and his delivery looked similar. He simply had trouble throwing strikes and hitters were able to capitalize. Jays fans are obviously hoping that elbow surgery, a restful offseason, and reduced pressure due to a lower spot in the rotation will combine to rejuvenate Romero, but we spent most of last year hoping that the latest minor adjustment was the one that was going to solve Romero’s problems and nothing seemed to work. Romero’s 2012 was such a disaster that it would be hard for 2013 to be a worse year (and with J.A. Happ waiting in the wings it’s unlikely Romero would stay in the team’s rotation were he to replicate 2012), but when a 28-year-old pitcher with ongoing knee problems is hoping that elbow surgery will get him back on track it’s hard to get overly optimistic.
Will the ‘real’ Ricky Romero please come forth? Is it the Romero who struggled in the minor leagues, pitching to a 4.42 ERA and 1.474 WHIP down on the farm? Is it the version that surprised most by posting a 3.99 ERA in his age 24 and 25 seasons with the Jays? Or the overachieving Romero who in 2011 won 15 games with a sub-3.00 ERA despite a 4.20 FIP that was masked by a flukey .242 BABIP? I’m going out on a limb and saying that Romero will not repeat the failures of 2012, if only because the team will not let him. I think there are two possible outcomes for Ricky Romero in 2013: he returns to ways of an ERA in the low-4s, coupled with a few too many walks; or he struggles and it’s revealed he is the latest Jays starter to require season-ending surgery. I’m hoping it’s the former, but wouldn’t be surprised by the latter.
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