Toronto Blue Jays 2018 Top Prospects: #21 Jordan Romano

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 14: The batting gloves and bat of Jose Bautista
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 14: The batting gloves and bat of Jose Bautista /

Jordan Romano, born in Markham, Ontario, was drafted in the 10th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014. A strong 2017 season with the Dunedin Blue Jays lands him 21st on our 2018 top prospect list.

Romano’s first full season in professional baseball came in 2016. Drafted in 2014, Romano underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entirety of the 2015 season, but returned to action with the Lansing Lugnuts in 2016. While 1.3 years older than the average player, Romano posted a 2.11 ERA in 15 games, 14 of which he started.

Name: Jordan Romano

Position: P      Age: 24

Height: 6’4″     Weight: 200

Throws: Right     Bats: Right

Acquired: 10th round, 2014 Draft

In 2017, Romano continued his progression, moving up one level to the Dunedin Blue Jays. He started 26 games, increasing his ERA to 3.39 but keeping his strikeout-to-walk ratio at relatively the same rate (2.56 SO/W in 2017, as compared to 2.67 in 2016).

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Romano was part of a rare baseball feat during the 2016 season with the Lugnuts, starting a game against the Peoria Chiefs and pitching five no-hit innings. Although a reliever completed the no-hitter for the Lugnuts, Romano took the loss because of a walk and error that allowed a batter to score. Despite the loss, it was the second no-hitter in Lansing history.

Romano’s father is Italian, and during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Romano pitched for the Italian national team. Italy won just one game in the classic, in which a strong one-inning appearance by Romano earned him the win.

MLB Pipeline says of Romano:

"Most scouts think that Romano will eventually return to the bullpen, where his fastball-slider combination could make him a late-inning option. But with his success over the last two seasons, Romano is looking more and more like someone who can stick as a starter."

The anticipation of Romano moving to the bullpen likely lowers his value as a prospect, but his skills are not lost on both the Blue Jays and external sources. After the 2016 season, Baseball America ranked Romano as the Blue Jays’ #24 prospect, and just less than a year ago, we ranked him as the Blue Jays’ #30 prospect. MLB Pipeline ranked him #18 in Toronto’s system after the 2017 season.

The key for Romano, moving forward, will be to develop his changeup. Although he has a strong fastball that can reach 96 MPH — it more often rests around 92-94 MPH — and could get even faster as Romano grows, he is unlikely to stay in the starting rotation without more valuable offspeed pitches.

Next: Blue Jays’ top prospects over the last decade

Romano can be expected to start the 2018 season in Dunedin, but he could start in New Hampshire. By the end of the 2018 season, Romano should be nearing the end of his time in New Hampshire and preparing to take the next step in his development towards Buffalo.

Top-30 Blue Jays Prospect Rankings:
#30: OF Jonathan Davis    #29: OF Harold Ramirez  #28: OF Joshua Palacios #27:1B/OF Ryan Noda     #26: SS Kevin Smith        #25: OF Roemon Fields                #24:P Angel Perdomo      #23: C Reese McGuire      #22: OF Dwight Smith Jr.