Toronto Blue Jays: Ricky Romero Is Better Than You May Think

Arad MarkowitzContributor IIIMay 24, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24:  Ricky Romero #24 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Despite being the ace of the Blue Jays staff, former first round draft pick Ricky Romero is often overlooked. 

Ricky Romero is an excellent pitcher. He has a case to be the best pitcher that no one talks about.

Romero is easily one of the most underrated players baseball. Romero pitches in arguably the best hitting division in baseball, the AL East, so that makes him look a lot better.

Romero throws a two seamer in the high 80's and low 90's. His four-seam fastball ranges from 92-95 miles per hour and his changeup is thrown at a range of 82–87 miles per hour. He also features a curveball that ranges from 74-78 miles per hour, and a slider that ranges from 84-86 miles per hour.

Romero's 2009 season was not great, but fine for such a young player. As a rookie, he had an xFIP of 4.05 despite have a .333 BABIP against, well above his career average of .303. He had a 13-9 record for the fourth place Blue Jays.

In 2010, Romero pitched to a 3.64 xFIP and a 111 ERA+ while also going 14-9 and sporting a 7.46 K/9 ratio. He also had a 4.0 WAR, higher than the likes of Cole Hamels, Chris Carpenter and former teammate, Shaun Marcum.

Romero made just $400,000 last year, so he was a steal for the Blue Jays. He also had three complete games and a shutout on the season. 

As of writing he has a 4-4 W/L record in 2011, with a 2.91 ERA while striking out almost a batter an inning: an 8.44 K/9. His K/9, BB/9, GB% and his Strand rate are above his career norms, so he is continuing to get better. He also currently sports a great 124 ERA+ and a 1.17 WHIP.

Romero is making a case for himself to be included as one of the American Leagues top pitchers. He is not that far off from Yankees' ace C.C Sabathia or Red Sox ace Jon Lester.

If he continues to pitch this well, Romero will be among the best pitchers in baseball and make himself known.

Romero signed a five-year, $30.1 million contract extension in mid 2010, and the deal looks like it could be a steal for the Blue Jays.

Romero is also just 26 years old, so he will continue to pitch for years to come.