One of the most exciting young pitching prospects in the organization, Markham, Ontario’s Jordan Romano is lighting up the Eastern League with otherworldly confidence and a knack for making the game fun.
Recently, Jays Journal was granted the exclusive opportunity to sit down and chat with one of the most energetic, exciting, and up-and-coming arms in a talented organization. Currently ranked as the #28 prospect (#10 pitching prospect) in the system, Jordan Romano pitched to a 4.13 ERA in 137.1 innings for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, striking out 125 while walking just 41.
Hayden Godfrey: Jordan, you’re a GTA native. Did you grow up a Blue Jays fan? Do you have any memorable Jays moments or favourite players that really stick out to you as a young baseball fan?
Jordan Romano: Definitely. Me and my whole family grew up big Jays fans and we’d always go down to the Rogers Centre, or the SkyDome I guess…and we’d always go down and watch the games. A couple of my favourite players were Vernon Wells, he was my favourite position player, and Ricky Romero, I’d always try to go on one of his start days.
HG: Shortly after you started your pro career, you had Tommy John surgery, which for many pitchers is a huge hurdle in their development. What did that teach you about yourself as a pitcher and about how to deal with injuries at a higher level?
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JR: That was a pretty tough time because throughout my whole career I’d never really had an injury, never had a time when I couldn’t pitch and wasn’t pretty healthy, so hearing that I had to be out was pretty tough for me. The rehab was pretty tedious and monotonous, but the Jays had a great training staff to help me through it and that process really made me realize not to take things for granted, because you could be feeling good one day and the next not so good. It made me work hard and try to stay healthy.
HG: Your team, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, has been absolutely phenomenal this season, finishing up the regular season with a record of 74-59. The pitching staff and the offence have been just stellar, but what does it do for you as a pitcher knowing that you have great defence behind you and a great batting order ready to score you some runs?
JR: That’s definitely a good feeling – we have the best lineup in the league. When we’re pitching, we usually have a three, four-run cushion, and once we’re on the board it’s a lot easier to pitch. You know that even if you give up one or two runs, you’re still probably gonna win the game. It’s just that safety net – you can go out there and do your thing and not have to worry about one run beating you because it’s really tough to hold us to just one or two runs. So, it’s been awesome pitching with run support.
Note: The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Eastern League regular season leaders in runs scored, stolen bases, doubles, hits, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, batting average and total bases, have averaged a whopping 5.08 runs per game, according to MiLB.com.
Stay tuned for the second part of this interview, where we ask Jordan about his relationship with an up-and-coming Blue Jays starter and about his goals for the rest of the calendar year.