J.P Ricciardi’s time as Blue Jays General Manager was controversial- to say the least. Eight seasons without making the playoffs, or even any meaningful games in September, is tough for fans to swallow (Overall wins-losses 640-653). However, there are several signings, draft picks, and trades that Ricciardi made which have helped put the Jays in the position they find themselves today: a young team on the verge of contention. With that in mind, I am going to look at one of Ricciardi’s best draft picks: Ricky Romero.
Ricky Romero is the Blue Jays best pitcher. He may not be a proverbial “ace,” but he is, at age 26, a very, very effective starting pitcher. He is also team-controlled at a very reasonable salary of 5 years 30.1 million plus a team option for 2016 of 13.1 million (The extension was signed by Alex Anthopolous).
Romero was the first pitcher selected in the 2005 draft (6th overall) out of Cal State Fullerton. Unfortunately for Ricciardi, this happened to be one spot ahead of the pick that yielded a spectacular shortstop to the Rockies. There is really no way to argue that missing out on a gold glove winning, power-hitting shortstop is not a major loss. However, the inherent difficulty of drafting must be recognized. Draft picks (even early in the first round), often fail to ever make the Major Leagues, let alone contribute at a high level. Anytime a high-level starting pitcher is drafted, it is massive gain for a team. Ricky Romero is a terrific “hit” for J.P Ricciardi, and that reality should out weigh any concerns over who he was drafted before.
Just look at the numbers Romero has put up so far in 2011:
72 IP/ 66 K/ 2.88 ERA/ 1.17 WHIP/ 5-4.
While the (generally useless) wins-losses record of 5-4 may not jump out at you, the 2.88 ERA certainly should. The 1.17 WHIP also sparkles on the stat sheet.
Romero’s peripherals are also solid so far this season:
FIP 3.79/ xFIP 3.20/ K/9 8.25/ BB/9 3.13/ HR/9 1.13/ GB% 52.5
Ricky Romero has taken the next step towards becoming a front of the rotation starter. The way I like to think of good starting pitching has little to do with a staff “ace.” Instead, a competitive team should have 3 very good starters, and 2 good starters. As mentioned, I believe Romero is a very good starting pitcher, who will be a prominent part of several playoff caliber Jays teams through 2016 (and hopefully beyond).
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