Can Ricky Romero be fixed?

2012 was a year to forget for Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero. Is it possible for him to fix his mistakes, or is he destined for the bullpen?

From 2009-2011 Ricky Romero was a good, not great, starting pitcher. He posted above average strikeout numbers, and did a good job at inducing groundballs. He posted slightly below average walk numbers, and also gave up his share of home-runs. Other than that, he was a typical middle-of-the-rotation-type pitcher.

2009-2011

Team

IP

BB%

K%

GB%

HR/FB

LOB%

BABIP

ERA-

FIP-

xFIP-

Ricky Romero Blue Jays 613 9.40% 19.20% 54.60% 11.80% 74.80% 0.285 84 96 91

In 2012 something happened though. His strikeout percentage dropped, and he saw an uptick in his walk percentage. His home-run per flyball percentage saw a 2% increase, and overall was just way too high.

2012

Team

IP

BB%

K%

GB%

HR/FB

LOB%

BABIP

ERA-

FIP-

xFIP-

Ricky Romero Blue Jays 181 12.70% 15.00% 53.50% 13.80% 67.40% 0.311 140 123 118

Besides his struggles with the three true outcomes, he also struggled at stranding runners. A 75% LOB% is considered above league average, but a 67% LOB% hovers between poor and below league average. The one positive is that his GB% faced little to no change.

What was the cause of this sudden change? Can he make the changes that are needed, and bounce back in 2013?

First I decided to take a look at Ricky Romero's average fastball velocity. If he was experiencing some sort of decline, then that would be a huge factor.

Romerofbv_large

If you take a look at this graph, notice the pretty significant loss in velocity that Romero experienced this year. Former BTBS writer Bill Petti wrote a series of excellent articles regarding fastball velocity, and concluded that the odds of regaining velocity are low. He found that 27-year-olds have .25 times the odds of regaining velocity, but they only regain .3 MPH. Romero did regain velocity last year, but going forward it still remains a big concern.

As Blake showed us, the most important aspect when it comes to strikeout percentage is whiffs per swing. When it came to Romero's two strikeout pitches, his curveball and change-up, his whiffs per swing for both pitches saw a significant decrease from a year ago.

From last season to this season alone, Romero saw his change-up whiff/swing% decrease by a total of 9%. That's an enormous amount, and as a result he struck out thirty fewer batters with that pitch. His curveball's whiff/swing% sustained a 7% loss, and resulted in eleven fewer strikeouts.

Romero's best season in the big leagues was in 2010. During that season his slider* had a swing/whiff% of 32%, his curveball had a swing/whiff% of 43%, and his change-up had a swing/whiff% of 35%. In order to be successful he needs all three of those pitches to be working.

Lastly I looked at standardized runs by pitch. This shows how many runs a pitcher saved or gave up when using a particular pitch. It's based on a standardized 100 pitch type scale. I gathered the data from FanGraphs.

Year

wFB/C

wSL/C

wCT/C

wCB/C

wCH/C

2009 -0.74 -0.61 - 0.67 1.33
2010 0.48 0.42 -0.29 0.99 0.78
2011 0.39 -8.92 -0.61 0.35 1.95
2012 -1.69 -10.91 -0.57 -1.13 0.65

His only pitch that saved runs was his change-up, and that was only .65 runs. His worst pitch was easily his slider. That pitch cost a total of 10 runs, and was a big contributor to his struggles. For the most part pitches should be between +1.5 to -1.5 runs. Extremes aren't out of the ordinary though. Romero has some changes to make.

*Brooks Baseball lists his slider as a cutter this year. I am not sure if that is due to mis-classification.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Beyond the Box Score

You must be a member of Beyond the Box Score to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Beyond the Box Score. You should read them.

Join Beyond the Box Score

You must be a member of Beyond the Box Score to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Beyond the Box Score. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker