After finishing 10th in the 2011 American League Cy Young voting, I had Ricky Romero as a sleeper candidate to win the 2012 Cy Young award.
It’s safe to say that I am very wrong.
Romero started the year exactly like I predicted, posting an 8-1 record through his first 15 starts (although his 4.34 ERA wasn’t great). Since then, he’s completely fallen apart and it’s been downright scary seeing him on the mound.
Romero is 0-12 with a 7.98 ERA in his last 13 starts. Last night, he was rocked for eight hits and seven earned runs in a single inning of work, seeing his ERA for the season balloon up to 5.85. Romero has walked 44 batters and recorded just 41 strikeouts during his current struggles. He’s allowed hitters to post a .319 batting average and .886 OPS against him and he’s now leading the American League in earned runs allowed and walks.
Romero has had some truly dubious outings, like the time when he walked eight batters without a strikeout in a start against the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 21 or when he walked six of the 14 batters he faced, giving up four hits as well. Romero has walked at least three batters in 16 of his 28 starts, four batters nine times and he’s reached six on three occasions.
It may seem that Romero is suffering through an injury as the velocity on his fastball is down to 91.2 miles per hour after an average speed of 92.1 last year. But last year seems to be an aberration, considering he spent 2010 averaging 90.8 and 2009 averaging 91.8. What he is doing though is relying on his fastball fewer times than ever–46.2 percent this year compared to 60.2 percent last year–as he’s added a cutter to his pitch repertoire, but it hasn’t seemed to be working.
Romero is in the second year of what seemed to be a bargain contract (five years, $30.05 million with a team option for 2016). It’s still a great deal for the Toronto Blue Jays because he will probably regain a lot of his form next season, and even if he doesn’t, they’re “only” paying him about $6 million per year.