Will the real Ricky Romero please stand up?

2010 & Ricky Romero

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After being labelled a failed prospect, Ricky Romero broke 2009 spring training as a member of the rotation. He was kicking ass and taking names over the first half of the season, compiling a 3.00 ERA, 1.264 WHIP. Injuries, possible fatigue and the creation of ‘the book’ have all been pointed to for his lackluster second half, which (5.54 ERA, 1.769 WHIP. He finished up the season with 13-9 with a 4.30 ERA, exceeding almost everyone’s predictions heading into the season.

Some quick research over at fangraphs.com regarding his second half plunge yielded some interesting results.

Firstly his walk rate increased drastically in the second half

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Romero has had a history of high BB/9 totals during his recent minor league career, with a 5.0 BB/9 rate in 2007 and a 4.1 BB/9 rate in 2008. Obviously this is going to be one of the keys to his 2010 season.

Next up is his groundball percentage. Romero induced more groundballs at the latter stages on the season. Good stuff

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Here is his BABIP. It increased significantly as the season wore on. An odd contrast when considering the uptick in his GB%.

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And lastly his HR/9. This actually dropped significantly after the start of the season and once again over his final five starts.

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So what’s going on here? We have a player that was roughed up in the second half that increased his GB% while lowering his HR/9, all while having his BABIP against shoot up. On the negative side he began handing out too many free passes and rumblings about ‘the second time around the league scouting reports’ have been mentioned in various circles.

What will we see from Ricky Romero in 2010? Bill James (mixture of stats and anecdotal analysis) sees Romero struggling, with a 7-14 record (5.59 ERA. The stat based prediction models naturally predict improvement due to his young age, with Marcel calling for a 10-8 record (4.47 ERA).

Where do you think Ricky Romero’s stat line will end up in 2010?

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has written for mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +

  • He will regress because he lives and dies by the sage advice of Brad Arnsberg.

  • I was looking at his pre and post all star splits and it is pretty different. He was walking batters like he was A.J. Burnett, especially bad in the second half of the season, as you mentioned. Morgan Campbell’s recent article said that he does not blame it on fatigue, but just a loss of the strike zone. But Romero showed flashes at to why he was drafted so high in his first three starts when Jack Cust compared him to a young Johan Santana.

  • One thing I believe Romero will improve on is his home run rate. I don’t even think he has to do much different, he simply won’t give up as many home runs to lefties as he did in 2009. He was a little unlucky in that regard.