One of our regular offseason traditions is the Exit Interview, where we look back at each player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals in the past season. This is the 11th season we’ve done this and it’s a good way to get a view of the whole year, not just a short stretch of games. It’s sort of like a performance review before the players went off to their offseason work, spending a little time with Oli Marmol and going over what went right, what went wrong. Stats and grades are only for a player’s time in St. Louis, though splits numbers may include other teams. As always, my sincere thanks to the legend of cardinalsgifs for providing the header image!
Player: JoJo Romero
Season stats: 3.77 ERA, 15 G, 14.1 IP, 9 H, 2 HR, 9 BB, 16 K, 8 IR, 1 IRS, 4.58 FIP, 1.256 WHIP, 10.0 K/9, 0.1 bWAR, -0.1 fWAR
Statcast: .338 xwOBA, 10.0 barrel %, 89.5 exit velocity, 40.0 hard hit %, 25.4 K %, 14.9 BB %
Best Statcast category: Fastball Velocity (75th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Extension (2nd percentile)
Positives: Did not allow a run in his first five Cardinal appearances (six innings) after being traded for Edmundo Sosa….his last 3.1 innings of the regular season were also scoreless, though he did allow one of three inherited runners to score in that span….lefties had a .612 OPS against him with 10 strikeouts in 22 plate appearances….held fifth place hitters to a one for nine….when he was ahead in the count, allowed a .067/.067/.133 line….batters had a .321 OPS with two outs in a frame….had a .489 OPS against with runners in scoring position….had four plate appearances with two outs and RISP and batters went 0-3 with a walk….pitched 2.1 scoreless innings with no days’ rest….didn’t give up a run in day games.
Negatives: Allowed three runs and retired no Brewers in an outing on September 28, which was half of the runs charged to him as a Cardinal….walked five lefties in those 22 PA as well….righties had an .851 OPS against him….leadoff hitters were 2-6 with two homers against him….batters hit .500 on the first pitch….when the count was even, batters had a 1.095 OPS….allowed two homers to the first batter he faced….allowed a 1.235 OPS with nobody out in an inning….gave up a 1.806 OPS in 10 high leverage plate appearances….had a 10.50 ERA in the eighth inning….had a 6.75 ERA against the Cubs.
Overview: The trade of Sosa for Romero was one of those trades that seemed to be pretty much insubstantial, especially since Romero was hanging around in the Phillies minor leagues. However, Sosa played a solid role for the Phillies on their way to the World Series and Romero was….fine. For a while there it looked like he could be a significant force from the left side, something that was needed given Genesis Cabrera‘s struggles, but as time went on it seemed more likely that he was the lefty you used early while saving a better lefty for a bigger moment. The changeup was effective (.188 BA), the sinker was not (.438 BA). Romero was sent to Memphis on the last day of the season when Jordan Hicks returned, which given that meant he wasn’t eligible for the playoffs (at least not the first round or so) probably tells you where he stands in the eyes of the club.
Outlook: Romero is still a year away from arbitration and has one option year remaining. He’ll stay in the organization and come to spring training next year with a chance to make the club. I would imagine he’ll bounce back and forth between St. Louis and Memphis depending on how he’s doing and the needs of the big league club, but he’ll have a chance to make some adjustments that will help him be more of the lefty weapon you’d like to see.