Toronto Blue Jays: The Jordan Romano Repertoire
The pride of Markham, Ontario, and the Ontario baseball community plays a major role in the present and the future of the Blue Jays.
Happy Opening week! The opener had the Blue Jays defeating the New York Yankees 3-2 in the mighty Bronx, to start off another gorgeous year of the game that we all love. The opening winning pitcher, with a grizzly fierce beard from Markham, ON, was RHP Jordan Romano. This piece is an exciting one for me to put together. I had the privilege to play alongside and against Jordan growing up. Yes, I fell victim to whiffing at multiple high-heater fastballs at the eyes.
We’ve seen the progression over the years with Romano. I witnessed it while still an amateur player. The Oral Roberts commit ranked 11th overall by Perfect Game USA in the province of Ontario, as an Ontario Blue Jay class of 2011. Romano was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2014 draft, 10th round, and assigned to the GCL Blue Jays, where a year later, he went under the knife for Tommy John Surgery.
In 2016, Romano came out strong; powering through 72.2 innings with a 2.11 ERA, striking out 72. In December 2018, he was picked up by the Texas Rangers in the Rule 5 draft; on the 23rd of March 2019, he returned to Toronto.
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2019 was a game-changer. Romano was lighting it up in AAA Buffalo. The Blue Jays caught a break in retrieving the right-hander. June 12th, 2019, Jordan got the big call to the ‘pen and made his debut against the Baltimore Orioles.
The progression has been obvious throughout the years. Fewer walks, more strikes. More first-pitch strikes, and up in the count more than often. We’ve seen an increase of velocity after Tommy John in his early career. Romano has lit it up to 99 mph and shut down some of the hottest hitters in the league, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge. In 2020, Romano finished the season with a 1.23 ERA, with 21 strikeouts and only five walks in 14.2 innings. In 31 career innings pitched, he totalled 44 k’s with 16 BB’s.
What is Romano’s role in the present and future?
The soon-to-be 28-year-old will be a very successful closer for the Blue Jays and in the Majors. His repertoire, athleticism, and youth will allow him to flourish. He ramps his fastball at a consistent 96-97 mph, topping 99 mph. The slider is the main weapon; definitely his out pitch. He throws it hard with an effective break. No Ken Giles? No problem. Romano is up there with names such as Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Kenley Jansen. Personally, I think Jordan’s reliability based on his work-horse ethic beats the majority of those names.
4 Seam-Fastball: 80 2 Seam Fastball: 70 Slider: 60
The 6’5”, 225-pounder can pound the catcher’s mitt. To start, Jordan stands tall and athletic with a great display of strength and mobility. His power is driven by a strong lower half from the ground up, followed by a long stride towards the dish. He keeps a consistent and fundamental mechanical delivery that usually starts with a squat and an exhale before each offering from the set. His agile hip usage sets up a solid release between 3/4th and over the top, with an athletic reactive finish.
As mentioned, Romano will pound the mitt and pound the zone. He chucks a 4-seam and 2-seam, each at an average of 96-97 mph, topping around 99 mph. He’ll fire up both fastballs in the zone without regret. The fastball will with mostly in the lower to the mid outside part of the plate, making It difficult for hitters to land bat on ball without crowding into the zone. He’ll also throw the heat up top shelf for a fishing trip. Romano’s slider is his bread and butter. He’ll average that slider between 89-93mph, 2 different ways. It has strong movement, typically back-door type stuff, with an approximately reading of 2225 RPM, with an approximate 4-inch horizontal swing to an approximate 30-inch drop. Now, that movement with the velocity it’s thrown at is unimaginable.
Romano is a “K” machine. He battles with confidence in his stuff, has a high level of baseball IQ, and will grind until the job is done. He’s a shut-down closer that can work up to six hitters from the set-up role to the end.