WELCOME TO THE DIRTY FLIRTY.
These are my top 40 prospects in The Cardinals organization, aside from the players that I’ve already covered in The Dirty Annexes. This little ditty here is the preface to all of the post in our Dirty series. So, if you’ve read this once then you don’t need to read it again!
A warning to those looking for Lars Nootbaar, Scott Hurst, Junior Fernandez, Johan Oviedo, Jake Woodford, Edmundo Sosa, and anyone aside from Angel Rondon that has already made a major league debut: That’s not really my bailiwick, as I’m sure you’ve heard enough about those guys from more qualified outlets already. Most of those guys have exhausted their prospect status, anyway.
A reminder that this is an exercise in futility, ranking prospects. It’s a landscape that is ever-changing and developing. We are almost always talking about kids that are just starting to understand both themselves and their bodies, while learning the most difficult and nuanced sport in the land. You never know when someone is going to start doing 200 pushups per day on their way to postseason glory.
I ask for your thoughts and feedback. I ask that you have fun. I ask that you remember that I’m a moron. Most importantly, I ask that you take all of the prospect rankings from every outlet in the spirit of what they are: a snapshot of that moment, with a bent towards understanding what might come.
#36: Outfielder Patrick Romeri
20 Years Old
Drafted in the 12th round of the 2019 draft
I like Patrick Romeri more than the #36 spot on The Dirty would indicate.
Patrick Romeri is the exact type of prospect that I expected to really struggle in the 2021 season, and for a couple of reasons. Down the "context rabbit hole" we go, again!!
First, with the reshuffling of Minor League Baseball, there wasn't a short season for this extremely raw but talented young man to compete at in 2021. In year's past, when the Appy League and the NY/Penn League were part of MiLB, a 19-year-old Romeri would have spent the first part of the season at extend spring, then finished the year with one of those short-season clubs. Instead, Romeri was asked to compete in a league that he might not have been exactly ready for a year after his age 18 season was lost to COVID. It's such a damn tough position to be in.
Romeri is from the IMG Academy in Florida. It’s one of the premier baseball academies/schools in America. The school has been turning out exciting prep player after exciting prep player for years. However, even with this advanced education in baseball, 2021 would have been an extremely tough environment for any teenager that was asked to play at a full season level after missing an entire season of organized, affiliated baseball.
There were some really strong positives right away for Romeri. While it didn't appear that he was either sinking or swimming at this advanced level for the first week and a half of the season, it did seem like he was holding his own even if the strikeout totals were high. Of course, we are only talking about seven games during the start of the season before he got hurt, but it was a better start than maybe I anticipated. He was one of the prospects that I was really looking forward to watching against Bradenton at the end of May, and I was bummed that he was hurt for that series.
It took Romeri some time to get going after he made his way back into the lineup on June 1st. From talking with some people, it sounds like Romeri was really trying too hard to cut down his strikeout rate, and maybe trying to emphasize contact more in his approach. It probably didn't help that Romeri also missed a little time at the end of the month. It was actually a rough couple of months between the start of June and the end of July for Romeri. His strikeout rate had dipped a little, but so had his still delightful 11.3% walk rate over these months. His power - the most promising part of his game from a potential "plus" raw tools standpoint - had all but disappeared. It was very "un-Romeri" to see him hit just one homer over a 150 plate appearance stretch, though the ten doubles were a nice addition. Even in this tough hitters league, this wasn't the Romeri that I had thought so highly of at the end of the 2019 season.
The good news is, the last two months of the season brough Romeri some needed success. From August 1st until his last game of the season on September 19th, Romeri hit 252/369/437 with five home runs and seven doubles in 141 plate appearances. Romeri's strikeout rate rose to 31.9% over this period which is, you know, not great, but his walk rate ballooned to a laughably good 14.9% over those last two months. Romeri put up a wRC+ of 123 over these last two months, and that put his season wRC+ over 100 (102). It was a great way to end the season, and we know from THE PALM BEACH CARDINALS TWITTER PAGE that Romeri was hammering the ball with incredible exit velocities all over the place.
Now, hopefully you will remember that I liked this young man more than I liked Trejyn Fletcher on both draft day and on subsequent Dirty listings. As I have stated repeatedly, this has more to do with his understanding of baseball – baseball I.Q, if you will - than anything else. That still stands true today. Just like with Fletcher and his fall from The Dirty, Romeri has been knocked down, too. Still, I think that there are a lot of qualities in Romeri's swing that will carry him, and that make him worth of a spot on the D40. You'll notice that, while flat, Romeri has some potentially plus bat speed and hands. There isn't a lot of wasted motion, and he keeps it simple. He whips that bat right through the zone, and his hips absolutely unload from an already strong foundation. His power is real and here to stay. He does have a lot of work to do with pitches on the lower half of the zone, and I'm anxious to see how/if he works through this. As you'd suspect, there is some real work to do against like-handed breaking pitches, as well.
You'll also noticed in these gifs that Romeri isn't the type to mess around on the diamond. Romeri hustles everywhere, and he goes 100% all of the time. You'll also notice from the small clips in this post that Romeri has obvious and immediate speed. He chops a little out of the box, but he gets up to speed relatively quickly. Every report that you read about him, and all of the people that you'll talk to, will talk about how dedicated Romeri is and how he never stops working. This all bodes well for continued and refined success.
I could easily see Peoria being a fun assignment for Romeri. Dozer Park Is shallow at the corners, but above average to the gaps. Romeri does a lot of his damage to the gaps, but the damage that he does is usually long and loud. I could see the short distance down the lines really adding a couple of homers to his total.
Of course, this is where growth and refinement will be necessary. Romeri still possesses a keen eye in the box and superior raw power, but that raw power still hasn't shown itself frequently in-game with any consistency. Because his swing isn't exactly engineered for loft but rather for line drives, I think that it might still take him some time to grow into that raw power, if he ever does. My hope is that this will lead Romeri into a better understanding of how to attack an at-bat. I have no doubt about this young man's mental toughness, but it's going to take the next level advancement in his hitting approach to put everything together. I guess I’m just more anxious than anything to see how quickly he works through it.
When compared to someone like Tre Fletcher, Romeri looks like just an average athlete. But when you analyze him on his own you can see all the athleticism, baseball acumen, and raw talent that you would want out of all of your prospects. He is a good runner, a good baserunner, and a very good corner outfielder with a strong arm. He is also a smart kid with a strong head on his shoulders, and all of these superlatives bode well for working his way into stardom as a prospect.
Romeri will obviously need to continue to cut down on the strikeouts and make more consistent contact while continuing to tap into his game power, but I believe that Romeri possesses the necessary skill set to do this. We'll just have to see it all in action again before we move him up The Dirty.
As I just take a screenshot straight from their website, I can’t begin to stress loudly enough the important role that FanGraphs plays in the statistical side of what I do with these write-ups. Please subscribe to their service BY CLICKING THIS LINK.
Once again, a very special thank you and shout out to The Palm Beach Cardinals Twitter page for keeping us updated on the baby birds. We just need this stuff more frequently if MiLB TV isn't going to carry the games.
In addition, you all know how important and valuable @cardinalsgifs is to the pictures that fire up these articles. I wouldn’t do the write-ups if it weren’t for him.
Thank For Reading!!