The Reds signed Romero for just $50,000 out of the Dominican Republic, and the 20-year-old lefty is making that look like a downright bargain. A Midwest League all-star in 2017, he’s a strike thrower that’s high in pitchability, and able to get hitters out despite pitching without particularly loud raw stuff.
Undersized and lean at 5’10’’ and 170 pounds, Romero pitches from a controlled semi-windup delivery with a long arm circle and quick stroke through a 3/4’s slot. He disrupts timing well by changing his tempo to the plate, with occasional pauses and quick pitches mixed in with his regular mechanics. His sneaky fastball gets on hitters quickly despite its fringy 88-to-91 mph velocity, taking a late hop as it comes through the strike zone. Able to mix grips and wrinkle in a sinker or cutter-type variation, his feel to show differing looks with his fastball is a sign of maturity beyond his years. There are the delivery ingredients to develop at least average command in time, though he worked mostly to the middle third of the plate in this look and won’t ever have much margin to make mistakes. Romero has great feel for a loopy low-70’s curveball and fading changeup at 80-to-82 mph, able to pitch backwards and keep his three-pitch mix around the zone. He’s especially confident in his changeup, throwing it to both lefties and righties to speed up his fastball.
Ticketed for High A Daytona in 2018, facing more advanced hitters will be a good litmus test for Romero. His strongest supporters believe he’s enough of a craftsman to profile as a #5 starter in the big leagues, while others question if his iffy stuff is able to face MLB lineups more than once through the order. Romero’s ability to limit walks and match up against same-side hitters give him some fallback as a longman or situational reliever.