Phillies 2020 Season Player Grades: JoJo Romero

JoJo Romero #79 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
JoJo Romero #79 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Grading Phillies reliever JoJo Romero’s rookie season

Left-handed Philadelphia Phillies reliever JoJo Romero quickly endeared himself to fans in 2020 and for good reason. Romero struck out the side against the Atlanta Braves in his debut and did not allow a run until his fifth outing; also, he didn’t allow a home run until his 11th.

Phillies fans took notice of Romero almost as soon as the team called him up, because so few other Phillies relievers were able to string together scoreless outings and keep the ball in the yard. He became a fan favorite almost instantly.

However, it wasn’t until the ninth game of Romero’s career that he truly made a name for himself in Philly. Following that game, his career line looked like this: 9 1/3 innings pitched, 3 earned runs allowed, 10 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs surrendered. But I’m not even referring to his stellar numbers, rather this:

Romero went viral in mid-September after the TV cameras caught him chugging an energy drink and crushing it against his arm — just before he ran out onto the field. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to see a Phillies reliever trending for positive, albeit non-baseball-related reasons.

The Phillies were just coming off of that disastrous seven-game series in Miami in which they lost 5 out of 7 and their postseason chances dwindled. The fanbase was slowly coming to terms with the fact that the bullpen was about to cost the team their first Red October appearance since 2011.

But that night, Romero brought us all a little bit of joy; his enthusiasm was inspiring, and it reminded fans that the season wasn’t over yet. The Phils were still fighting. Of course, the Phillies went on to lose 9 of their next 13 and miss the playoffs by a single game. Romero himself ended the season on a sour note — giving up six runs in his next two appearances.

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Those six runs ruined Romero’s stat line, giving him a 7.59 ERA for the season. However, we should look past that less-than-ideal ERA and remember how much potential Romero showed in his first nine games. His underlying numbers — 3.66 FIP, 8.44 K/9, 1.69 BB/9, 0.84 HR/9 — also speak to how good Romero was as a rookie.

I believe Romero deserves a spot in the 2021 bullpen. While Romero ended the season with the worst ERA on the team — minimum 10 innings pitched — anyone who watched him play knows he’s a better pitcher than that number indicates. Plus, he’s one of the most fun and exciting players on the team.

Romero is great to follow on Twitter; he actively uses the platform to engage with fans and drum up excitement about baseball. Finally, I can’t finish this write-up without saying something about Romero’s facial hair and his flow; he reminds me of a young Sal Fasano — that’s a good thing!

. LHP. Philadelphia Phillies. JOJO ROMERO. B+

As badly as I want to, I can’t give Romero an A considering how poorly his season ended. Still, he was one of my favorite players on the team this season and he demonstrated a ton of exciting potential.

Grade: B+

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