Josh Byrnes has made two spiffy transactions off the waiver wire this offseason, picking up 23 year old out fielder Alex Romero from the Minnesota Twins, and picking up 26 year old outfielder Jeff Salazar from the Rockies. SInce this will get lengthy if I go over JD Durbin too, i'm going to make this a two part article. In this first part, I'll go over Romero and Salazar. In the next part, I'll go over JD Durbin.
I'd thought i'd once again go in depth into these guy's minor league stats, take a look at their splits, and see what kind of player each guy profiles as. I'll incorporate whatever knowledge I can gleam from the scouting reports I can find.
Alex Romero was born in Venezuela, on September 9, 1983. He bats and throws right handed, and is listed at 6'0, 160IB. He was signed as undrafted free agent at the age of 18 by the Minnesota Twin in 2002. He was assigned to the GCL Twins, Minnesota's rookie ball affiliate, and played 56 games, recieving 186 ABs. He hit 333/.423/.457, with 62 hits, 13 2b, 2 3b, and 2 Hrs. He posted a solid bb/k ratio of 29/14. He stole 16 bases and was caught stealing 6 times.
In 2003, Romero was promoted to Quad City, the Twins A-Ball affliate in the midwest league. He played in 120 games, and received 423 ABs. He had a solid season hitting, all though he didn't show much power, hitting to a tune of .296/.359/.376, with 125 hits, 16 2b, 3 3b, and 4hr. His bb/k ratio wasn't as good as his rookie ball year, but was still solid, drawing 43 walks, while striking out 43 times. Not bad at all. He also stole 11 bases and was caught stealing 8 times. That is a very poor success rate on the base bath. Just for reference, to break even, you need to be succesful about 75% of the time.
In 2004, Romero was promoted to High-A Fort Myers, in the Florida State League. He played in 105 games, also playing Dh that year, and had 380ABs. His slugging percentage rebounded a bit, and hit a line of .292/.387/.405, with 111 hits, 21 2b, 2 3b, and 6HRs. He posted a solid walk to strike out ratio again, drawings 54 walks while striking out 47 times. On the base path, he seems to have taken a more reserved approach, swiping 6 bags, and getting caught 4 times.
2005 was a pretty good year for Romero, playing for New Britain, the Twins AA affiliate at the time. He played in 139 games, amassing 509 at bats. His batting line - 301/.354/.458 - was the season in a microcosm. He hit for more power, but his on base percentage took a dive, and he struck out more than he walked for the first time in his career. HOwever, he still had a very good season 153 hits, with 31 2b, 2 3b, 15 hr. However, he struck out 69 times, while only walking 36 times. His effort on the base bath was very poor also, all though he did steal 12 bases, he was caught 11 times.
in 2006 Romero began the year in AA once again, playing for New Britain for 48 games, and getting 167 at bats before getting promoted to AAA Rochester. In his 167 ABS in AA in 2006, he hit .281/.384/.461, showing improved on base percentage from the year before, and an improved slugging percentage. He had 47hits, 11 2b, 2 3b, and 5 hrs. His bb/k ratio improved from the year before, walking 26 times, while striking out 19. He was also slightly more succesful on the base path swiping 15 bases, while getting caught 7 times.
He was the promoted to AAA Rochester in the International League, appearing in 71 games, and getting 236. It was in Rochester that Romero struggled for the first time, hitting 250/.300/.301, with only 59 hits, 8 doubles and 2 triples, his power completely fell off. He also posted a poor strike out to walk ratio, striking out 22 times to only 15 walks.
So what kind of player is Alex Romero? What does the future hold for him in Arizona? Romero has strong contact skills, with a career .293 average. He's also got a strong on base percentage, at .365. He doesn't hit for much power, but he's a capable doubles hitter. He's shown some speed, swiping 66 bags in his minor league career. His batting splits are interesting, in Rochester, he hit lefties(.263/.333/.351) much better than righties (.246/.289/.285). However, in New Britain, it was the opposite, .204/.310/.408 vs lefties, and .314/.414/.483 vs Righties. I'm not exactly what to make of this.
At age 23, Romero is still a decent prospect, and should begin the year in Tucson and the PCL, a much more hitting friendly enviroment than Rochester and the international league. In a system loaded with guys so much upside like Carlos Quentin, Chris Young, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton, and Gerrado Parra, Romero is most likely going to end up as a 4th outfielder along the lines of Jeff Davanon - A guy who can play all three outfield positions well, can get on base at a reasonable clip, and provide a little pop, and a little speed. He's still young though, and he may have more upside than what he's shown in the minors. We'll have to see how he does next year in Tucson.
Next, We'll look at another outfielder, Jeff Salazar. Born in November, 1980, Jeff unlike Romero, bats left handed, and has a lot less upside. Listed at 6'0, 175IB. Originally drafted by the Orioles in 35th round, Jeff elected to attend Oklahoma State instead. He was drafted again by the Rockies in the 8th round of the 2002 draft, and was signed quickly, on June 11th.
in 2002. at age 21, assigned to High A Tri-City in the Northwest league, Salazar played in 72 games, received 268 ABs, with an overall batting line of 235/.351/.328. Pretty poor, but the OBP is impressive, considering the batting average. He had 63 hits, 5 2b, 4 triples, and 4 hrs. He stole 10 bases and was caught stealing 6 times. He walked 47 times, while striking out 43 times. Overall at first glance, a poor season, but signs of promise.
In 2003, Salazar was assigned to A-ball Ashville, in the SAL league, appearing in 129 games, and recieving 486 ABS. He rebounded nicely, hitting to a tune of 287/387/.527, with 138 hits, 23 2b, 43b, and 29 hrs. He swiped 28 bags, and was caught 14 times. He also maintained a positive bb/k ratio, walking 77 times, while striking out 74 times. He also spent 1 game in high a visalia, recieving 5 abs, going 0-5.
In 2004, Salazar returned to High A Visalia(now the Dbacks affliate), and played in 75 games, and recieving 314 ABs before being promoted to AA tulsa. In Visalia, Salazar put up a monstrous line of .347/.419/.586 with 109 hits, 28 2B, 9 3b, and 13 hrs. He stole 17 bases, and was caught stealing only twice. He maintained that positive walk to strikeout ratio, walking 38 times, while striking out 33 times. Impressive, but this was in the hitter's haven that is the california league.
Promoted to AA Tulsa, Salazar played in 58 games, receiving 224 Abs. His batting line in Tulsa -223/.331/.313 - wasn't nearly as impressive as his line in Visalia, but he still showed the ability to get on base. Walking 35 times, and striking out 31 times. He was also succesful on the basebaths, swiping 10 bags, and stealing 3. He had 50 hits with 13 doubles, 2 triples, and one homerun
In 2005, Salazar split time between AA Tulsa and AAA Colorado Springs. In his 69 games, and 266ABs at Tulsa, Salazar rebounded nicely, hitting .278/.381/.410 with 74 hits, 13 doubles 2 triples and 6 HRS. He wasn't as successful on the base paths, swiping 12 bags, but getting gunned down 8 times. His plate discipline took a slight dive, striking out 49 times, but still walking 44 times. 4 of the walks he received, however, were intentional, so his k/bb goes down to 49/40. Salazar was then promoted to the hitting friendly environment of Colorado Springs. He played in 59 games, with 236 ABS, putting up a .263/.349/.436 line with 62 hits, 17 doubles, 3 triples, 6hrs, swiping 5 bags, and getting caught twice. His plate discipline took another dive, as he struck out 58 times, while walking 32 times. A decent season, overall, but dissapointing to see his plate discipline continue to suffer.
In 2006, Salazar split time between AAA Colorado Springs, and a stint with the Rockies. He appeared in 85 games, with 328 for Colorado Springs, putting up a .265/.357/.433 line with 87 hits, 14 doubles, 7 triples, and 9 hrs. He swiped 12 bags, and was gunned down 5 times. Hw struck out 64 times, and earned 46 free passes. He was promoted to the Majors for 19 games, with 55 at bats, hitting .283/.409/.415 with 15 hits, 4 doubles. and a home run. He stole 2 bases with out getting caught. He walked 11 times, while striking out 16 times. He played CF for the Rockies.
What kind of player is he, based off his stats? So what kind of career does the future hold for the 26 year old outfielder? Well, Salazar has shown good on base percentages over his career, with good power, and good steal rate. He, like Romero, can play all 3 outfield positions. According to his split last year, he can't hit lefties - .205/.315/.295 vs LHP, compared to .283/.369/.478 vs righties. I think Salazar, like Romero, will end up as a 4th or 5th outfielder. I'd think he's more likely to be called up this year if he's needed, as opposed to Romero, who hasn't used any of his options yet. If things go well for Salazar, he's another option to replace Jeff Davanon and Eric Byrnes next year in their roles as 4th and 5th outfielders, a la 2006.
So my brain and my hand is hurting after writing all of this, so i'll get on the JD Durbin analysis later tonight. I need to take a break. I hope you(whoever out there who actually reads my blog) enjoys this piece. Please, if you have any insight, leave a comment.