Scouting Yankees Prospect #44: Josh Romanski

Romanski has a few pitches in his arsenal

The New York Yankees signed left-handed pitcher Josh Romanski in 2010 after he was released by Milwaukee at the end of Spring Training. Originally drafted by the Brewers in the 4th round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of the University of San Diego, he went a combined 8-5 with a 3.33 ERA in his first minor league season this year after never throwing an official pitch in his two-year Brewers career.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Josh Romanski
Position: Pitcher
DOB: October 18, 1986
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 180
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

"Being released after Spring Training by the [Milwaukee] Brewers, between that time and ending up in Tampa, and contributing to a championship team, that's a pretty good feeling," Romanski said of his season. "I came around pretty much full circle as far as the year goes. I'm just using [the year] to build positive momentum and carry it into 2011."

A hernia that took quite some time to locate was the reason he missed his debut season back in the summer of 2008 and he then missed the entire 2009 season with surgery to repair a stress fracture in his elbow.

And even though he never got to pitch in an actual minor league game, the Brewers, staffed with a number of left-handed pitching prospects, decided to let him go this past Spring Training.

"I was pretty upset," he admitted. "As a player with no performance or statistics to back me up in getting me picked up by another team, it was definitely a time of high uncertainty. The Yankees decided to give me a chance and I'm very thankful for the opportunity they've given me."

The Yankees were rewarded with a solid performance as he went 8-4 with a 3.16 ERA for the Charleston RiverDogs in what essentially was his debut season after nearly two years away from the mound, and he did so while walking less than two batters per nine innings.

"I think I performed very well, especially for a player who was out of games for a couple of years," he opined. "There's obviously things that I want to get better at, but minus my first start in Charleston and my first start in Tampa, I think the season went very well. I'm very pleased with how it went but I'm definitely not content."

A four-pitch hurler [five if you count both his two and four-seam fastballs] who can throw strikes with all of them, even though he doesn't light up the radar gun, he has Yankee officials coming away very impressed.

"Romanski has a ton of pitch-ability," Charleston pitching coach Jeff Ware said. "He knows how to pitch, how to set up batters. Pitching to both sides of the plate has helped him a lot. He has that pitch-ability where you never know what he's going to throw because he can throw all four pitches for strikes."

With the season he just had, especially considering he had not pitched in game action in over two years, many believe Romanski has put himself back on the prospect map.

"I think so," Romanski said. "From my perspective I've always been on the map. I've always thought I've had the ability to compete and I've always had the mindset to compete.

"For me it was just a matter of getting some time and really showing an organization that could throw the ball. I have a lot of self belief and I think that makes the difference sometimes."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2010

Tampa

0-1

0

12.0

15

4

12

4.50

2010

Charleston

8-4

0

88.1

84

17

73

3.16



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Cutter.

Fastball. Romanski has both a four-seam fastball and a sinking two-seam fastball, both of which he has plus command over. He sits mostly 88-90 mph with his fastballs and both get good movement, especially his sinker with dives down and in to left-handed batters. He gets natural tailing action with his four-seamer and that allows him to control the inner-half of the plate against right-handed batters.

Other Pitches. It's pick your poison time when it comes to Romanski's secondary pitches. His best offspeed pitch right now from a consistency standpoint is his plus changeup. He gets excellent fade and sink with it, and he can locate it at will. He also throws a big league average curveball that he can also command very well. A bit more consistency with its break could make it a true plus offering. He rounds out his repertoire with a cutter that sits around 81-84 mph. Some might call it a slider but he throws it like a cutter and it does get that late cutting action. It's his best swing-and-miss pitch to lefties but he could stand to command it better inside the strike zone.

Pitching. Pitching, not throwing, is where Romanski excels. He doesn't overpower batters by any means, but he attacks batters with an array of pitches that he gets good movement on and has an ability to locate for strikes consistently, therefore opposing batters never really know what's coming. He knows how to set batters up, he has the movement to get the swing-and-misses, and his cutter/two-seam combination allows him to control both sides of the plate. He also lives to pitch inside to right-handed batters. Getting more consistent command of his cutter in the zone could allow his game to go to the next level. He also fields his position and holds runners well.

Projection. Romanski doesn't have frontline stuff but his strike-throwing ability and deep arsenal allows him to be an innings-eater of sorts. In some ways his cutter gives him an Andy Pettitte look on the mound, but Romanski's smaller stature and four-pitch mix, as well as a plus changeup, allows him to compare more favorably to a Ricky Romero type. He has big league starting potential as a middle to back-end guy and he also has the swing-and-miss cutter to be a solid left-handed reliever. For Romanski it will all come down to team needs when/if he eventually gets to the big leagues. He offers a lot of role flexibility.

ETA. 2013. Romanski is going to move fast if he continues to put up numbers because he doesn't have any major flaws in his game. Look for him to start in Tampa next season with a possible promotion to Trenton later in the year probably in the cards too.

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