Selected in the tenth round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Oral Roberts University, Romano worked his way through every rung of the Minor League ladder, battling back from Tommy John surgery that sidelined him through the entire 2015 season as well. He was left off the 40-man roster heading into the 2019 season and was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Chicago White Sox and then traded to the Texas Rangers. After posting a 3.86 ERA through seven appearances during the Rangers Spring Training, he was returned to the Jays as he wasn’t projected to make the Opening Day roster and Romano started the year in AAA for the Jays.
The Markham, Ontario product made his MLB debut later that year, pitching to mixed results (7.64 ERA through 15.1 innings). He cracked the 2020 Opening Day roster and took tremendous strides forward, allowing two earned runs through 14.2 innings with 21 strikeouts, with both earned runs coming via solo home runs. Romano also earned two saves that season.
Fast forward to 2021 and Romano didn’t start the year as the club’s closer, but rather shared the duties with Rafael Dolis until taking on the role on a full-time basis in mid-May, finishing the year with a 2.14 ERA through 62 appearances, converting 23 saves on 24 opportunities.
Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano has emerged as one of the league’s top closers this season, stacking up well against the rest of the MLB relievers.
With the 2022 season heading into the last month of the schedule, Jordan Romano is not only the Jays’ closer for the foreseeable future, but he has emerged as one of the more dominant closers in all of baseball.
Compared to other MLB closers, Romano is tied for seventh in the MLB with 27 saves on the year, three behind league leader Emmanuel Clase on the Cleveland Guardians. With his 2.20 ERA, Romano sits fifth in terms of closer ERAs while converting 87.1% of his save opportunities, 27 of 31 opportunities.
While he doesn’t boast the highest K/9 rate at 9.9 and a 3.1 BB/9 compared to his closing counterparts, Romano has held opponents to a .191 batting average while sporting a 1.04 WHIP so far on the year. The right-hander also found himself named to the 2022 All-Star team and twice this season has won the AL Reliever of the Month Award this year. He also signed on to pitch for Team Italy at the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
One of his wildest outings of the year came against the Red Sox last week, where he loaded the bases with zero outs in a tie ballgame in the ninth inning and walked away unscathed, striking out Franchy Cordero while getting Kike Hernandez to ground into an inning-ending double play. He ended up winning the game, coming back into the tenth inning and getting three outs with the runner on second.
Overall, the Blue Jays are clearly a better team when Romano is at the back end of the bullpen and has emerged as one of the top-tier closers in all of baseball right now. It was a tumultuous road to get there, but an error on the side of the Rangers and a fantastic fastball/slider combo has seen Romano emerge as the Blue Jays closer for years to come.