There is one Minnesota Twins player that is not currently in camp with the team. LaVelle E Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune was one of the first to report that pitcher Fernando Romero has not yet reported to Spring Training. Romero was turned away at customs when arriving in the United States.
Romero, who was ranked as high as the number four prospect in the Twins system by MLB.com in 2017, will have to go through the entire process to obtain a visa again, which could take the same amount of time as Spring Training. In the meantime, the righty will be staying in the Dominican Republic and working out at the Twins facilities. The Twins could use him in the March 7 game against the Detroit Tigers, when they play a Spring Training game in the Caribbean country. Minnesota will not penalize Romero for not reporting on time, eve though the deadline was this past Saturday.
After being flipped from being a starter to a reliever prior to the 2019 season, Romero turned in a 7.07 ERA, 5.07 WHIP, and 2.143 WHIP in 15 appearances with the big-league club. Although his K/9 was at 11.6, his BB/9 was at 7.1. His numbers with AAA Rochester included a 4.37 ERA in 57.2 innings of work along with a 2.17 K/BB rate.
Although Romero was maybe a long-shot to make it into the bullpen this season, it’s certain that he will now start with Rochester to begin the 2020 campaign. The Twins currently have two, maybe three bullpen spots up for grabs. With Taylor Rogers being the only lefty cementing a spot in the ‘pen, southpaws - and non-roster invitees - like Blaine Hardy, Danny Coulombe, and Caleb Thielbar just had their chances of making the team rise a little bit. Additionally, Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe could land in the bullpen if the fifth spot in the starting rotation goes to another pitcher—but more on that fifth spot later today.