Minnesota Twins: Fernando Romero has left his mark

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ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 7: Fernando Romero #77 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on May 7, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 7: Fernando Romero #77 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on May 7, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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The future is coming fast, and for the Minnesota Twins, it all begins with a six-foot-tall right-hander throwing in the mid-90’s.

Fernando Romero has arrived for the Minnesota Twins and has far exceeded expectations, so far. Through his first two starts, Romero has continued his hot stretch that he started while playing with the Rochester Red Wings. His start in Triple-A almost forced the Twins hand and Romero has been better than advertised.

Romero pitched only 21 innings and surrendered eight runs, six earned, with Rochester. The funny thing is, he wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary in Triple-A to make you pay close attention. However, Romero has been consistently pitching well in the Minors during the last few seasons, and all of that hard work has paid off.

An eye-opening arrival

Things have not gone well for the Minnesota Twins to start the 2018 season. BOTH high-priced free agent signings, Logan Morrison and Lance Lynn, have struggled to begin the season. On top of that, Phil Hughes was a dud during his attempt in the rotation, and now currently resides in the bullpen.

However, along with the recent offensive surge, Romero has provided a spark for this team over the past week. He didn’t do anything to “wow” you, however, he was as steady in the Majors as he has been in the Minors during his debut. The flamethrower has excellent command on the outside half of the plate with his 96+ MPH fastball. When a hitter starts to cheat on the fastball, he has a well-developed slider that is getting the job done.

Romero walked three while striking out five in five 2/3 innings pitched during his MLB debut. He kept the ball on the ground, inducing one double play, and allowed zero runs. He followed that up by blanking the St. Louis Cardinals while striking out nine and pitching six innings.

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As bad as things have sometimes felt for Minnesota Twins fans to this point, and there have been some dark days recently, this new pitching renaissance has provided hope for the immediate future. José Berríos has emerged as the rightful ace of this pitching staff and another ace Ervin Santana will return soon. With Romero off to a good start, Minnesota can cover for Lynn’s early struggles this season.

The potential impact looking forward

Jake Odorizzi has been pretty much what you should expect, for the most part. He has shown that he is an above-average starting pitcher in MLB throughout his career. Odorizzi has one more year of arbitration so Minnesota has his rights for the 2019 season, per Spotrac. Oh wait, we haven’t even talked about Kyle Gibson, who has been as reliable as anybody in the current rotation. He has also pitched himself into consideration for the future of this team.

The Twins hold a team option on Santana for $14 million with a $1 million buyout, assuming he doesn’t pitch 187 innings during the 2018 season triggering the option, this rotation is set up well for the future. We haven’t even talked about a pitcher recently named to MLBPipelines team of the week, Stephen Gonsalves, but he figures to be in the mix as well.

The good news for Twins fans is this, we only have to suffer through Lynn for one season before we see some tremendous arms take over. Romero has the type of stuff that is destined for the top-end of an MLB pitching staff. It is always possible that he finds himself back in Triple-A again during this season, roster spots are precious after all, but it will only be temporary if that happens.

Next: Can Kyle Gibson keep up his current pace?

Romero is ready, as he has already shown, to handle Major League hitters. Watching him hit the black on the outside corner against a righty over and over again is a beautiful thing to witness. Twins fans should look forward to enjoying what could be a special career from Romero.

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