The 2014 season has been an utter disaster for Enny Romero. In 17 starts for Triple-A Durham, he is a 3-10 with a 5.62 ERA in 83.1 innings pitched. The good news is that his 78-38 strikeout to walk ratio isn’t bad, and–of course–his stuff remains electric. On the negative side, his 1.2 home runs allowed per 9 innings are only the tip of the iceberg in regards to his command issues. With Enny Romero ever locate his pitches well enough to start in the major leagues? That question has only gotten stronger as the year has gone on. However, when Romero took the mound on Sunday in the Futures Game, he reminded everyone of just how good he has the chance to be.
Romero went the 7th inning for the World Team in the contest, allowing a hit to fellow Rays prospect Justin O’Conner, but nothing else. He touched as high as 98 MPH, never dropping below 94 and averaging 96.3 MPH overall. Three of those high-octane fastballs forced groundballs, punctuated by that 98 MPH reading on his final pitch to retire the Chicago White Sox’ Micah Johnson. Add in a trio of sliders, one of which Romero spotted well for a called strike, and Romero gives hitters enough to think about aside from his fastball that it isn’t difficult to see him dominating. It says something that the Rays still sent him to the Futures Game despite his struggles–they still believe in him–and it is even better that he left observers in awe by the time he was through. Nevertheless, the questions will continue, and Romero has a long way to go to answer them.
If Enny Romero goes back to being the pitcher he has been all season when he returns to the Durham Bulls, the Rays have wasted their time. It means little what Romero can show in a one-inning stint, other than the fact that a future as a late-inning reliever could be a good fallback for him if he continues to struggle as a starter. The ultimate goal of Romero heading to his third Futures Game, however, was to send Romero back to Durham motivated to work even harder and find success like that more consistently. The Rays are hoping that one strong inning by Enny Romero will be the start of many more, and we will have to see if he can make that possible.