Cincinnati Reds’ pitching prospect Sal Romano looks to join the staff anyway he can

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Sal Romano wants to make the unusual jump from Pensacola Blue Wahoos to Cincinnati Reds.

The Cincinnati Reds entered spring training with as many as six spots open on the pitching staff.  Sal Romano wanted to make the jump from Double-A to the big leagues.  His roommates in Goodyear, Arizona, Amir Garrett, Cody Reed, and Robert Stephenson, had a similar idea.

Romano faced an uphill battle.  He has yet to have a dominating season in the minors.  He spent a total of 3 1/2 years in either Rookie or Single-A ball.  Usually prospects spend two years at the most at those levels.

Romano also has yet to have a full season ERA below 3.50.  That would be fine for an MLB starter, but not what you look for when thinking about someone being ready to jump from Double-A to MLB.  Even his strikeouts have been unremarkable, as he never hit 150 in single season in his first five years in the minors.

Romano is a starting pitching prospect who isn’t ready to make the jump yet.  Since his second year in the minors, Romano has made at least 25 starts and pitched at least 100 innings.  The problem is that it averages out to only 4 innings per start.

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Throughout his minor league career  Romano has averaged about five innings per start and five strikeouts for every six innings pitched.  The good news is that he averaged one walk per three innings and that number has been decreasing. He also hasn’t given up any earned runs in his first four innings this spring.

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The Cincinnati Reds may need Romano to start his MLB career in the bullpen in order to find him a spot.

The three starting pitchers that are his roommates in spring training were also all ahead of him in the race for a spot in the Reds’ rotation.  Garrett and Stephenson were the favorites for the last two spots with Reed being given an outside shot.  The Reds’ signing of Bronson Arroyo and Scott Feldman didn’t help Romano’s chances either.

Even before the trade of Dan Straily to the Miami Marlins, there was talk of Garrett being the second lefty in the bullpen.

Now Garrett could end up there with a decent spring, if Arroyo beats him out for his spot in the rotation.  Romano’s only advantage over Arroyo  was that Arroyo signed a minor league deal.

It looks like Romano has little chance of seeing Cincinnati before September.  He just hasn’t separated himself enough.  He is too close to subpar prospects like Tim Adleman and minor league free agent signings like Louis Coleman.  Romano needs to focus on lengthening himself in games.

Next: The Reds need to hold onto young veterans

He may not make his MLB debut in 2017.  Romano, though, has come a long way since being drafted in the 23rd round in 2011.  Starting in Louisville and proving himself is the best thing for Romano.  He will have his chance soon enough.