Sunday, March 3, 2013

Romero faced with a Make it or Break it April

           As we all know Ricky Romero did not have a good season for the Blue Jays last year. The lefty from East L.A. posted a 5.14 FIP with a dreadful walk rate of 5.22 per 9 innings. The situation in Toronto has of course changed dramatically over the past year, and Romero has now gone from the leader of the staff, to the guy at the bottom of the totem pole, who everybody is having doubts about. R.A Dickey will now front the rotation, with Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, and Ricky coming in behind him. But, those 4 guys aren’t even who Romero should be worried about, he should be worried about J.A Happ. Acquired a couple of weeks before the deadline last year, Happ is adored by AA (as he also tried to acquire him in the Roy Halladay deal), and is scheduled to begin the year being the ace of the Buffalo Bisons in AAA. He has had quite a solid career, owning a career 4.19 ERA in the big leagues, and is more than qualified to be this teams 5th starter.

           The pressure is going to be on Romero from the get go this season, and if he struggles, Happ could easily be recalled and Romero could be sent down. If not that, he could be moved to the bullpen, unlikely, but still a possibility.

A key to Ricky being able to have success as a starter for the Blue Jays this upcoming year is going to be one pitch that he neglected in 2012, and that pitch is his sinker. As shown in the analysis of his pitches from 2012 by, Ricky only through his Sinker 11% of the time last year compared to a whopping 22% in 2011. Could his lack of success in 2012 stemmed from his lack of sinker/2-seamer? Probably. In 2011, it was able to get him quick strikes and induce weak contact. Instead, in 2012, hitters were laying off his pitches, he was walking more, and his GB% fell (not a lot, but a reasonable amount that you can attribute to his lack of sinker). Something the media isn’t picking up that alarms me is his virtually non-existent slider, which he threw only twice all of 2012. It’s not one of his main pitches, but he threw it 52 times in 2011, not TWICE.
Ricky needs to get back to being the pitcher he was in 2011. This doesn’t only mean stat wise, but also how he got there. If he doesn’t JA Happ is waiting in the wings, and there are plenty of others in the system too! 

Stay Tuned this Tuesday for my first 30 teams in 30 days post. Of course you can find me as always on twitter @jordanhostick16

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