Washington Nationals: Five X-Factors For The 2017 Season

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

Enny Romero

With Romero out of options, it would make sense if the Washington Nationals decide to keep him on the roster rather than risk another team claiming him on waivers. Out of all the late moves Mike Rizzo made, Romero might end up being the one that yields the greatest reward.

Of course, Romero hasn’t pitched much in spring training (five strikeouts, one hit allowed in six games), but the organization had to be impressed by what the left-hander did at the World Baseball Classic. Pitching for the Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic, Romero had three strikeouts and didn’t give up a hit in 2.2 innings (two games).

As for his time with the Nats, he has given up one hit, struck out four, and walked one in five innings. While he was with the D.R., his fastball was hitting 98-99 miles per hour on the radar gun, which was impressive.

During his three years with the Tampa Bay Rays, Romero has pitched 20+ games in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings (Baseball Reference). Last year, his 50 strikeouts were the third most of any Rays reliever and 19 of them came in the eighth inning (second most on the team behind former Nats left-hander Xavier Cedeno).

Throughout his time with the Rays, Romero had issues with his command (5.5 walks per nine inning in 52 games last season). If he is able to control the fastball, he is a pitcher that Dusty Baker can go to in any situation.

Who knows, with the current closer situation, maybe he gets a save opportunity or two before the season comes to a close?