Every year at draft time or when the international signing period begins the Cincinnati Reds pick up a whole new group of young players. We get stats on some of them and scouting reports on most of them. Within those scouting reports we often hear the word projection. It’s something that people foresee happening in the future based on current factors.

Let’s travel back in time to June 7, 2011. It was the second day of the draft. The Cincinnati Reds took a 17-year-old right hander in the 23rd round that year named Sal Romano. He was listed at 6′ 5″ and 225 lbs, at seventeen. The pre-draft scouting reports all talked about his projection and how in time, with the work on his mechanics and just natural progression, he would pick up plenty of velocity from the current 88-90 MPH that he was throwing. Projection. It was in there, it was just going to take time to come around.

The Reds signed Romano late that summer and he didn’t make his debut until the next year, pitching for the Billings Mustangs as an 18-year-old in their rotation. That season he saw a small uptick in his velocity as reports had him throwing 89-92 on the season. Last season he found himself in Dayton, still a teenager at just 19, he again picked up a slight amount of velocity. While he was still working in that 89-92 range for the most part, he was touching 94 more often than he had the season before. Slowly things began to move forward with what was seen by scouts when he was just a 17-year-old high schooler.

Now let’s go back to April of 2014, Romano is now a 20-year old pitcher who stands at 6′ 5″ and 254 lbs according to the official Dayton Dragons media guide. The big right hander was returning to Dayton where he had spent the entire season before. It was April, and it was 43° outside. And it was windy. The conditions were not ideal at all for baseball, much less to be pitching, but that’s what you get in the Midwest League early on in April. Cold weather.

It was the first start of the year for Romano, in that cold weather on a windy night. Yet in the first through third innings he was sitting 91-94 MPH. That was a big jump from where he had been the year before. I missed the fourth inning for some reason, as it jumps right over it in my actual notebook that I keep my reports in, but the fifth inning saw the velocity drop down to the 90-91 range. Then in the sixth it ticked back up to 91-92 with a few 93’s mixed in. Overall on the night, the velocity was up quite a bit from the year before and he held that 91-93 most of the night with more than a few 94’s mixed in. Some of that projection was becoming reality.

What about the last time that I saw him pitch on July 28th, just two weeks ago, in a game where he set a career high with 10 strikeouts in just 5.0 innings pitched? Well, we may have seen the full circle going from projection to reality.

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4 Responses

  1. Troy McKevitt

    love his build. sounds like he could be a durable innings eater if the stuff gets more consistent. hasn’t been very good the last couple times out (since the 7/28 start), but it is great to see him flashing some TOR stuff. is his change-up the biggest area of his game needing improvement right now?

    • Doug Gray

      Yeah, the change up isn’t as good as the other two pitches are. But that is usually how it works for most guys at this point in their careers.

  2. The Duke

    Still inconsistent, but he is also still only 20. The raw talent is there, and he has the innings eater build, but he needs to cut down on the dumpster fire starts.

  3. DaveCT

    One of those guys who has clearly benefited from the one step at a time development.