Mariners Analysis: Stefen Romero Off to Hot Start in Tacoma
Stefen Romero excelled this spring with the Seattle Mariners, and he has continued to play well with the Tacoma Rainiers through the first week of the season.
Stefen Romero is clearly the most dangerous hitter in the Tacoma Raniers starting nine right now. He is hitting .364 with a double, 1 home run and 6 runs batted in through the first 6 games of the season. Romero is slugging .545, and has struck out just once in 22 at bats. The Pacific Coast League is known as a hitter’s paradise, but Romero is making it look ridiculously easy in Tacoma.
The 27-year-old seemed to find himself this spring in Peoria. Romero slashed .357/.372/.476 across 42 Cactus League at bats. He tallied 2 doubles, 1 home run and drove in 8 runs through 17 games. Romero nearly edged Dae-ho Lee for the backup job at first base, but his remaining minor-league option made him expendable.
Originally selected in the 10th round of the 2010 draft by the Mariners, Romero reached the big leagues in 2014. He failed to live up expectations in Seattle, hitting .192 with 3 home runs and 11 RBI across 72 games as a rookie. Romero’s .234 on base percentage and .299 slugging percentage were more than deserving of a demotion.
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Romero spent the bulk of last season in Tacoma with the Rainiers, and he dominated the Pacific Coast League. Romero hit .292 with 37 doubles, 17 home runs, 79 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 116 games played. He registered a .333 on base percentage and slugged .494 across 516 plate appearances. Romero also posted a .304 batting average against left-handed pitching in 2015.
The Oregon State alum earned a September call-up to Seattle, and appeared in 13 games for the Mariners last season. Romero posted a .190/.292/.381 slash line with 1 home run and 3 RBI across 24 plate appearances. His numbers were underwhelming, but he showed much more patience at the dish. Romero nursed just 4 free passes in all of 2014, but he worked 3 walks last season in very limited action.
I have always been a fan of Stefen Romero. He played just down the road in Corvallis, OR and he plays the game with enthusiasm. He may never be a superstar on the field, but he is popular with his teammates and could be a valuable role player. Jerry Dipoto and his staff were quick to jettison players they did not believe fit in the plan, and there is a reason why they held onto Romero.
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Obviously, the Dae-ho Lee experiment is working out pretty well right now in the Emerald City. However, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of Romero earning a mid-season call-up to Seattle. He is a versatile defender with the ability to play right field, left field and first base. If Romero keeps hitting, it will be tough to keep him off the M’s 25-man roster.