The Washington Nationals have reportedly sent one of their top prospects, Seth Romero, home from spring training. Here’s how it will affect the organization.
In addition to getting their starters ready for the season, the Washington Nationals have used spring training to give prospects an opportunity to play in front of the major league coaching staff. Several of these prospects, such as Victor Robles and Andrew Stevenson, have made the most of their opportunities.
Seth Romero, on the other hand, could not have made a worse impression in his first professional spring training.
On Monday night, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that the Nats sent Romero home from spring training for violating a club policy. Although it is not yet known exactly what Romero did, this is very discouraging.
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Romero, who was the Nats’ first-round pick in the 2017 draft, has a history of behavioral issues. He had several incidents in college, which included failing a drug test, breaking curfew on a road trip, taking a picture in uniform while holding drug paraphernalia, and fighting a teammate.
The University of Houston gave Romero a long leash, possibly due to his outstanding abilities, but suspended him several times and eventually kicked him off of the team.
Getting kicked off of his college team hurt his draft stock, but the Nats still believed in him enough to use their first-round pick on him. He was a top-10 talent, but fell to the Nats’ 25th overall pick due to his off-the-field issues.
Now, Romero is proving that he has not learned from his troubled past. He was not suspended by the MLB, which means he did not fail a drug test (recreational or performance enhancing), but his violation was significant enough for the Nats to send him home from spring training.
At 21, Romero is still young and has time to mature. However, it would be best for everyone involved if he began the maturation process sooner rather than later. According to MLB.com, he is the Nats’ fifth-ranked prospect and second-ranked pitching prospect.
Although MLB.com lists his ETA as 2019, there is a chance that we could see him in the majors in 2018, assuming he stays out of trouble. When he was drafted, there was speculation that he could join the major league bullpen by the end of the year.
The Nats have since fortified their bullpen with the acquisitions of Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson, and Sean Doolittle, so there is not as big of a need for Romero at the big league level. However, injuries happen and you can never have too much pitching depth.
With Romero’s latest issue, his ETA could be delayed. Even if the Nats do not hold it against him moving forward, his development and season preparation are temporarily on hold. He will at least miss spring training, if not longer.
Romero is a very promising pitcher, which made the Nats look the other way on his off-the-field issues and draft him. Unfortunately, his behavioral issues are not just a thing of the past, as the Nats hoped.
Although Romero is oozing with potential, he will never get to tap into it if he doesn’t get his head on straight. Hopefully, sending him home from spring training serves as a much-needed wake-up call.