The Orioles have some nice arms in their system. Where does Drew Rom fit in?
- Born: December 15, 1999
- B/T: Left/Left
- 6’2″, 170-lbs
- Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft from Highlands HS (Fort Thomas, KY)
His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:
Rom was drafted in 2018 and he did fairly well that summer in Rookie ball. Could’ve struck out a few more batters, but the control was good and so were the results.
He’s going to be easy to keep track of his age, for just look at the year. So in 2019, as a 19-year-old, he took on low-A and increased his strikeout rate to the best of his career. Sadly his control backed up and so did his WHIP.
His 20-year-old season was a lost one.
In 2021, he started at High-A and split the difference: strikeout rate acceptable, walk rate good, and K%-BB% is acceptable. So they promoted him to Double-A, and in part it was because of the lost year so they wanted to move him quickly. In Double-A he held his gains and increased the strikeouts ever so much.
That’s what you want to see in a pitching prospect: move up a level, keep the skills steady despite the harder competition. And Double-A is good competition.
He clearly likes pitching to lefties more than to righties. At both levels his strikeout rate against LHB is clearly above 30%, while against RHB it hovers on either side of 25%. Same thing with his walk rate: against LHB he has 3% otherworldly control, but against RHB the walk rate doubles.
And you see the results in his WHIP. This is something to keep an eye on as he perhaps repeats Double-A in 2022 and perhaps moves to Triple-A: does his — I won’t call them struggles, for he pitched decently even against them — lack of domination against righties continue, or does he improve against them. If a pitching prospect destroys lefties but only does so-so against righties, it can lead to the bullpen if that doesn’t improve.
Savant doesn’t have his 2021 numbers, but you see the righties pulling those home runs, doubles, and lots and lots of singles.
- Rotowire: 243 on their Top 400
- BaseballHQ: on their Top 100
- Fangraphs: on their Top 133
- Fantasy Six Pack: on their dynasty list
- Imaginary Brick Wall: on the Top 473
- Fantrax: 383 on the Top 250
- PARSlist: 61.6 on the PARS list (Back end rotation)
He only throws his FB in the upper-80s to low-90s. While that’s not a deal-breaker for a lefty, still, it’s not fast, and he will need the utmost command to succeed in the Majors.
He’s 6’2″, but only 170 pounds, and unless he develops more weight he might not develop more velocity.
Righties had some success against him in Double-A.
His slider is quite good, and he has a decent splitter, so while his FB velocity is not good yet, he has the makings of a starting pitcher. His FB does have above-average spin and great backspin. This is starting to smell like crafty lefty territory…
He will need three things to succeed as a major league starting pitcher:
- Keep his command and improve it against RHB.
- Improve his fastball so that it is at least average with good spin.
- Or simply get stronger and increase his velocity.
He looks like the kind of starting pitcher who could really take off if his velocity increased. Until then, he could succeed, but there will be days when righties get to him and his WHIP looks a lot more like a #5 than an ace.
Look at that color skill chart above: mixture of greens, blues and a yellow. That’s not dominance, just competence. Drew Rom had himself a nice season.
Next year will tell the tale. If he steps up, the road ahead will become clearer.