DOB: September 9, 1983
After seeing Alex Romero play on many occasions, it is clear to me that he is one of the top prospects in the Twins organization. He has developed into a good overall player, and seems to be hitting his stride at the right time. Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela when he was 16, Romero is poised to be the Twins' left fielder of the future.
He began his professional career with San Joaquin of the Venezuelan Summer League in 2001, and it was clear that he was destined to have a nice career. He hit .347 as an 18-year old, driving in 30 runs in 49 games. He also stole 10 bags, and struck out only nine times all season.
The following season he would make his Gulf Coast League debut, and there was no letdown. En route to becoming a Gulf Coast League All-Star, Romero batted .333, and stole 16 bases. He also drove in 42 runs in 56 games, and showed good extra base hit potential, smacking 17 of them.
In 2003, Romero would make the move to full-season baseball, as he joined the Swing of the Midwest League. Batting .296, Romero finished the season ninth in the league in batting average, and showed he could handle a full slate of baseball. Only 19 at the time, Romero was one of the youngest players in the Midwest League, but showed signs of maturity.
During the 2004 season, Romero was slated for the Fort Myers Miracle, and he had a decent year at the plate. Although he batted a career-low .292, the Florida State League is a pitcher friendly league, so the numbers can be deceiving. However, he hit a career-best 6 home runs, scored 59 times, and showed the Twins that he was ready for a call-up to Double-A New Britain. One noticeable statistic is the fact he only stole six bases, which was due to added bulk in the off-season.
Last year, as a member of the New Britain Rock Cats, Romero really put himself on the map. Not only was he the only Cat to be place on the Eastern League Post-Season All-Star Team, but he also set career highs I multiple categories. He set career highs in runs (65), hits (153), doubles (31), home runs (15), runs batted in (77), and slugging (.458) to name a few. It was definitely a breakout season for Romero, who was only 21 years old for most of the season.
Within the organization, his .301 average was good for fourth, and his 77 runs batted in were good for fifth.
Batting and Power.Romero has hit at every level he has played at, so there is no doubt that he should be able to hit in the International League this season. He hits for power, can spray the ball all over the field, and has the ability to hit the ball in the gaps. He had 48 extra-base hits in 2005, and as he continues to get stronger, will only see a rise in his power numbers. He also has a tremendous batting eye, which some believe is the best in the organization. During the past two seasons, he has finished in the top five in the league in fewest strikeouts per total plate appearances, and this past season was the first year he struck out more than he walked.
Base running and speed.Base running and speed is a department that would be considered a weakness in Romero's game, but it is not a gaping hole in his game. Originally, Romero was projected to have great speed, but the more weight he put on, the slower he became. He also has a problem with making bad decisions on the base paths, and that is something that worries some Twins scouts. Still, he has stolen ten or more bases in every season but one during his Minor League career, and projects to be a 10-15 guy at the next level.
Defense. Romero is a decent defender, and while he did set a career high with seven errors in 2005, he has been very reliable in the outfield during his career. He makes all the easy plays, but he is not going to have a highlight reel full of jaw-dropping plays. He has a good arm for left field, and can be considered a heady outfielder. He is in no way a liability in the field, but he is not the slickest of fielders either.
ETA. 2006 Romero will open the 2006 season as a member of the Rochester Red Wings, and should have a successful season in the International League. With Shannon Stewart in left field, there is really no rush to bring Romero up too fast, and the Twins will let him get a good taste of AAA ball before they bring him up to the show. However, he taking over in left field is inevitable, and he should get a call-up at sometime during the 2006 season. A switch-hitter with gap power, Romero will be a welcome addition to any lineup.