After 17 games with the Blue Jays last season, right-handed reliever Jordan Romano has been one of the most impressive arms in the bullpen this season.
Drafted in the 10th round of the 2014 amateur draft, Markham, Ontario native Jordan Romano got a taste of the big leagues last year, and he’s not wanting to settle for anything less than being on the Blue Jays roster in 2020.
Last season was a whirlwind for the Canadian.
First, he was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the Rule 5 Draft and would immediately be traded to the Texas Rangers. Not making the active roster out of Spring Training, Romano was returned back to the Blue Jays and would open the season in AAA with the Buffalo Bisons.
He would then make his MLB debut mid-June and would pitch to an inflated 7.63 ERA with 21 strikeouts, nine walks, and a 1.696 WHIP through 17 games after being called on plenty of times last season. While these were not the most impressive numbers (albeit a short sample), the right-hander did show some promise during a few of his outings over the course of the summer.
Fast forward to the 2020 season, and Romano has been exceptional during his time on the big league roster. Pitching in the later innings and in high-pressure situations out of the bullpen, Romano’s lively fastball keeps hitters on their toes and his secondary off-speed pitches have also been producing as of late. His impressive stat line of (prior to his scoreless inning last night) 11 strikeouts, three walks, 0.375 WHIP and 0.00 ERA is giving manager Charlie Montoyo the confidence to have him pitch in the crucial innings, and Romano is taking full advantage of the situation.
So what’s next for the fiery right-hander?
His current role of being the set-up pitcher is working pretty well for all parties, so I could see Montoyo keeping him in that position given that he hasn’t surrendered an earned run to begin the year. Closer Ken Giles is currently on the injured list with a strained right forearm, so I also wouldn’t be surprised if Montoyo lets Romano close out a game or two over the next few weeks.
Fellow bullpen pitcher Anthony Bass has also been impressive this year and has picked up the save opportunities while Giles has been on the IL. One could argue that Romano could be interesting to watch if put into the same role, but it would be hard to take him out of his current position given how he has performed well in the 8th inning.
Given it is just the start to the season, it will be interesting to see if Romano can hold on to his torrid start, or at least keep putting up impressive numbers over the course of the year. The Blue Jays may have just found an impressive addition to their bullpen and he even bears the Canadian flag to boot.