Thoughts on what we could be missing out on as we say goodbye to a popular prospect.
As the Twins made room on their 40-man roster for free agent pitcher Ramon Ortiz, they said goodbye to an outfield prospect that had been on everybody's radar over the last two seasons. For better or for worse, Alex Romero won't see his future come to fruition with the Twins.
It's generally difficult to judge what you have in a prospect, for many reasons. Translation of good numbers from the minors to the majors, rose-tinted glasses, legions of "prospects" who simply couldn't cut the mustard following a "breakout" season, misinterpretation of or hollow statistics; the list goes on.
Up until last season, Romero had graduated each level of the Twins farm system he went through with relatively positive results. He didn't show much power in terms of pushing the ball over the fence, but he did show signs of gap power. Perhaps the most promising sign that Romero could be an effective offensive presence in future years was his low strikeout totals. In fact, in his tenure in the Minnesota minor league system, his walk-to-strikeout ratio was just shy of 1-to-1.
Last season was supposed to be a big year for Romero. He'd just come off a .301/.354/.458 year with New Britain and, at 22 heading into 2006, expectations were that he was going to be a part of the Twins outfield in the years to come. His defense was solid, and he carried enough speed that at times it was whispered that maybe he, and not Denard Span, would be the Twins center fielder of the future.
Unfortunately, Romero's 2006 wasn't as positive as some (particularly those of us in the bloggosphere) had hoped. After struggling with the Red Wings he was sent back to New Britain, where he hit very well before being brought back up to AAA to end the season.
Alex Romero, OF
Year Level Age AB H 2B BB SO Avg Obp Slg
2002 Rook 18 186 62 13 29 14 .333 .423 .457
2003 A 19 423 125 16 43 43 .296 .359 .376
2004 A+ 20 380 111 21 54 47 .292 .387 .405
2005 AA 21 509 153 31 36 69 .301 .354 .458
2006 AA 22 167 47 11 26 19 .281 .384 .461
2006 AAA 22 236 59 8 15 22 .250 .300 .301
Minors 1901 557 100 203 214 .293 .365 .410
This spring Romero continues his bid for a big league career with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Here are a few, for the time being anonymous, players with fairly similar minor league numbers to Alex Romero. Could any of them have careers which will end up being a mirror to that of our departed outfielder?
Name AB BB SO Avg Obp Slg
Player A 3115 434 504 .293 .380 .402
Player B 1998 261 332 .289 .377 .411
Player C 2327 245 312 .287 .364 .434
Player D 1857 265 263 .295 .385 .407
Player E 1895 215 349 .293 .368 .436
Romero 1901 203 214 .293 .365 .410
All of them are players you know, some of them are older than others, one was a Twin quite recently and one of them has a career that's just beginning. Before you cheat and look at the answers below...any guesses?
The career of a prospect is never guaranteed. Still, similar numbers above have given way to a number of players with at least moderately successful major league careers. Of course, for five players who "made it" with similar numbers, there are even more who have been lost in the shuffle. How will things end for Alex Romero?
Player A = Dave Roberts
Player B = Grady Sizemore
Player C = Frank Catalonotto
Player D = Shannon Stewart
Player E = Milton Bradley