2012 was a very bad, ungood year for Ricky Romero. It started well enough but, by the end of the season, Ricky Romero was one of the worst starters in baseball. Romero struggled with his control and struggled to get anybody out.
Romero’s best weapon has long been his change up, his swing-and-miss pitch that batters somewhat gave up on in 2012. Romero’s great love of the change up gives him very odd reverse splits – lefties hit the left-handed starter much harder than righties. Much of this owes to Romero’s reluctance to throw his change up to arm-sided batters. As a result, teams like the Rays love loading their lineup with lefties to gain an edge (not to mention get under Romero’s skin a little bit) by taking away his best weapon.
Lefties hit Romero harder than usual in 2012 but righties did as well. Romero posted the worst numbers of his career across the board last season, posting the worst ERA and third-worst FIP among starters in baseball. This came after Romero looked very much like a number two starter in 2011, where he danced between the raindrops to post a 2.92 ERA versus a 4.20 FIP.
The Blue Jays need Romero to be more like the 2011 version of himself. Asking him to outperform his component stats as he did that season is a tall order but if he can deliver 200 innings and a 4-ish FIP, the Jays will likely be laughing all the way to the playoffs.
For that to happen, Romero must be healthy and he must improve over 2012. While these two things are not unrelated, perhaps tweaking Romero’s approach is key to getting the most from the former Opening Day starter and staff ace. Perhaps, given Romero’s love of the change up and rededication to his sinker, a move on the pitching rubber is in order.