JC Romero, RP (LHP)
Age: 32 (33, June 4)
2008: 59 IP / 4-4 / 2.75 ERA / 38 BB / 52 K / 1 SV / 4 BS / 1.34 WHIP
Summary: JC Romero’s magical resurgence as a late-innings wizard continued throughout the 2008 season. In 59 innings he gave up 41 hits and walked 38, putting up a WHIP that usually wouldn’t translate to an ERA under 3.00. And yet 85.7 percent of runners on base were stranded there after Romero screamed off the mound. It wasn’t as improbable as his 89.8 percent success rate in 2007, but it was close. He was great against left-handed hitters, leaving them at a ridiculous .102 average, .193 on-base percentage and .153 slugging percentage. It’s simple: He rules lefties. Righties? No.
Career Level: Prime (Year 3)
Green Flags: As long as Romero can master left-handed hitting, he’ll be an integral part of the team’s success. … While getting into jams might be a negative, Romero’s iron will to escape every harrowing situation is a positive — the man has fire. … His 7.93 K/9 is very strong.
Red Flags: Romero’s control continues to be his Achilles heel. … His second heel are righties, of course, so he has to avoid them. … He won’t be pitching in games until at least game No. 51, so he’ll have to get up to speed quickly.
Prognostication: If Romero only faces left-handed hitting he could possibly have a perfect season. But that won’t happen. He’s too important in the back end and will have to pitch tough spots against lefties and righties. Should he step back a little? Yes. Will he? Who knows. He’s already proven himself over 1.5 seasons. With the right role, Romero will again be deceptively effective.
2009 Projection: 43.2 IP / 4-2 / 3.29 ERA / 28 BB / 33 K / 1 SV / 4 BS / 1.39 WHIP