Washington Nationals: Enny Romero Must Make Most Of World Baseball Classic

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Nationals reliever Enny Romero has a great opportunity as a pitcher for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic that he must take advantage of.

Shortly before pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training in early February, the Washington Nationals made a low risk trade and acquired reliever Enny Romero from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Romero is a big left-handed pitcher, standing at 6’3″ and 215 pounds.  He has always had an electric arm and is able to touch triple digits with his fastball, but has never quite been able to harness his control.  If he could learn to consistently throw strikes, he could end up playing a key role in the Nats bullpen this season.

The left-hander has impressed so far this spring, throwing three hitless innings for the Nats, while only allowing one walk.  However, his first spring with his new team has been cut short due to the fact that he will be pitching for the defending champion Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic (WBC).

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This is a great opportunity for Romero for a few reasons.  First, he will get a chance to show the Nats how he fares in actual games with a lot on the line as opposed to a more relaxed Spring Training atmosphere.

Marlins Park should be extremely rambunctious for nine innings, especially while a team with such high expectations like the Dominican is playing.  Baseball is huge in the Dominican Republic and their fans are expected to come out in large numbers, ready to make lots of noise while cheering on their home team.

The Dominican Republic is in Pool C for the first round, which also features the United States. Their first game will be tonight against Canada (6 p.m ET, MLB Network). If Romero pitches against the U.S. on Saturday night (6:30 p.m ET, MLB Network). It will be interesting to see how he fares against the star studded lineup, which consists of many of MLB’s biggest stars.

Another way the WBC could possibly benefit Romero is that he will be spending lots of time with some of the best relievers in baseball.  Some notable relievers that the Dominican Republic will have in their bullpen are Dellin BetancesAlex ColomeJeurys Familia, and Fernando Rodney.

Those four pitchers have a combined 420 saves and bring lots of great experience to the table.  If Romero is smart, he will take advantage of this and attempt to pick their brains while they are in the pen together.

Their manager, Tony Pena, could also help out Romero.  During his playing career, Pena was a catcher and had the opportunity to catch some all-time great pitchers such as Roger ClemensJack Morris, and Billy Wagner.

Pena played 18 years in the big leagues and has been a coach for 17 years.  With all this experience, he could pass on some great knowledge to Romero and possibly help him get over the hump and fulfill his potential as a great reliever.

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Although Romero isn’t currently in camp with the Washington Nationals, he is pitching for a great Dominican Republic team and is surrounded by tremendous baseball talent and knowledge.  If he plays his cards right, the WBC could possibly be more beneficial to him than spending the spring in Nationals camp.