Nats prospect watch: Romero ready to pitch in 2020

Here is an update on left-hander Seth Romero (Twitter: @sethromero21), who missed all of 2019 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. The 23-year-old was a 2017 first-round selection out of the University of Houston. MLB Pipeline ranks Romero as the No. 9 Nationals prospect in their top 30.

No. 9 Seth Romero

“He was another one who came to the instructional league and minicamp and early arrival to spring,” said Nationals minor league pitching coordinator Brad Holman. “Just a super talented young man, left-handed, got a lot of feel, has the ability to execute pitches despite not being in the best position sometimes. So we have talked to him about how to get to a better position when he is readying himself to throw a baseball. He’s another player who grabs (that information) and runs with it.

“(He has) three pitches that I think will play above average. He just needs to face hitters.”

Nationals-bag-bat-dugout-sidebar.jpgHolman said the Nationals have focused on Romero’s delivery, specifically how he begins his movement, from wind up to pitch.

“I am talking about in the delivery. How to actually get ready to throw a baseball,” Holman said. “Kind of like a hitter, who gets ready to swing a bat. Right prior to acceleration, the position that they get to is critical. It’s the same with pitching. A lot of pitching coaches call it different things like load up or transfer or stay back - all those terminologies. They are all very vague in terms of like how to do it. So we break it down and really help these guys understand that time and place, as far as where they need to get to, to make sure they can repeat that every time.

“The goal being: ‘I don’t really have to know what I did wrong, as long as I know what is right. I can always go back to what’s right.’ Instead of spending so much time trying to figure out whether it was my arm, my head, my foot, all those little checkpoints. We are big advocates of teaching these guys how to ready themselves, understand what that is, how far to go, how long to stay there and how to come out of it. So they understand how they can benefit from pitch execution and more than anything, health.”

The Nats employ several devices and technology to help them break down an issue and allow the pitcher to see what they need to do, sometimes frame by frame, to adjust and streamline their approach.

“The Edgertronic is a high-speed camera that can really break things down almost to a fault,” Homan detailed. “You can see things so vividly that you can nit-pick it. Even just regular video, we have so many things at our disposal from Rapsodo to Trackman to Edgertronic camera to the regular video cameras, and then we have our eyes, too.”

Holman said Romero worked very hard to figure out how to improve his tempo to the plate. But the West Columbia, Texas, native also knows what feels right to him. Holman looks to get those two variables together to make the delivery seamless.

“Seth has been in the video room and we have already done a lot that with him,” Holman said. “He’s also a feel guy. Once he gets it, you can really tell that he’s in the right place. So he knows what’s right, he knows what’s wrong based on the way it feels and the resulting hits. Now it’s just a matter of maintaining it and when he gets away from it, not to lose it.”

Romero spent 2019 rehabbing from Tommy John and now looks to return to the mound at full strength, likely a first step with high Single-A Fredericksburg if/when the season begins. He made seven starts for low Single-A Hagerstown in 2018. Now Holman believes Romero is ready to break out.

“He is on the fast track if he stays engaged, and if he is on the field between the lines, I think you are going to see him get there real quick,” Holman said. “He’s talented.”

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