Blue Jays: Romano looks to follow Sanchez’s footsteps

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 8: Aaron Sanchez
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 8: Aaron Sanchez /

After being exposed to the Rule 5 draft, Jordan Romano is still with the Blue Jays’ organization, and is working hard with Aaron Sanchez this offseason.

The Blue Jays have plenty of holes to fill on their roster this offseason, but they do have a position of strength when it comes to young, right-handed arms that could fill out their bullpen. The likes of Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes, Dominic Leone, and more will make up the right side of the pen, and there is plenty to like about the group.

Which is one of the reason the Blue Jays made the somewhat surprising decision to leave Jordan Romano off of their 40 man roster, and exposed him to the Rule 5 draft. Fortunately for the Blue Jays, he was not selected, as was the case with the other players that they stood a chance of losing earlier this month.

Romano spent the 2017 season with High A Dunedin, making 26 starts and finishing with a 7-5 record and a 3.39 ERA in 138 innings pitched. While the jump from High A to the big leagues is pretty enormous, Romano was in danger of being selected because of his upside, and how his stuff could potentially play in the big leagues out of the bullpen.

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Now that he knows he’ll be back for another go around with the Blue Jays, Romano has set his sights a little earlier for the 2018 season, and hopes to make the jump to the big leagues whether it’s with the Blue Jays or not. It would appear he’s going about it the right way as well, as he’s been working out with the strength and conditioning coach for the Buffalo Bisons, Jason Dowse, and has formed a workout partner bond with the 2016 AL ERA leader, Aaron Sanchez.

Romano did an interview with Braydon Holmyard of Sportsnet, and offered several great insights into his thinking around the Rule 5 draft, and what it means to him to be working out with, and learning from someone like Sanchez.

As Holmyard correctly points out, Sanchez has laid out a pretty successful path for Romano to follow, especially when you consider the transformation he made after the 2015 season. Sanchez looked like he could end up being a full time reliever in the big leagues, but his hard work transformed his body with 20-30 pounds of muscle, and forced the organization’s hand to put him into the rotation.

"“Seeing his work ethic and how determined he is, it motivates me. Seeing him get after it makes me want to do the same. He’s obviously been really successful so I’m watching how hard he works and what he does. I’m trying to do the same thing because I want to be where he’s at.”"

At 24 years old, Romano has time to make the leap to the highest level, and it would appear he’s taking the right steps in order to achieve that goal. While Sanchez’s 2017 season was frustrating to watch, as he was on the DL for all but eight starts, that had nothing to do with his workout regiment. The way he took his training to another level in the offseason of 2015 was a turning point for his career, and the Blue Jays (and all of us) are hoping to see him back on the mound for 30 or more starts in 2017.

Whether or not Romano joins him as a teammate in 2018 remains to be seen, but if he puts in the kind of time and work that he’s been reportedly investing, don’t be surprised to see him in Toronto next season at some point.

Next: Blue Jays: An Imagined Atkins/Girsch conversation