The Rockies’ catcher of the future is hoping for a better present.
Drew Romo started strong in 2022, but the rest of his year was disappointing. The downturn was no fault of his own.
At the end of June, Romo was hitting .299/.354/.444 with five home runs in 65 games for High-A Spokane. His final batting line was .254/.321/.372 with five homers in 101 games.
Drafted 35th overall in the supplemental first round in 2020, the 21-year-old switch-hitter had the makings of a second straight successful season. He veered off course due to a hand injury, not because of any offensive deficiency.
“The reports we’re getting is he’s (healed), and he should be coming into camp healthy,” Rockies assistant farm director Jesse Stender said.
Given his prospect status and the need for catchers in spring training, Romo likely will report to big league camp.
Romo took a foul tip off his right index finger and then was hit with a pitch on that same finger. He tried to play through the injury, but it affected his throwing, and he did not catch a game after July 16.
He landed on the injured list in late July and missed 17 games. Romo was a DH when he returned, though the injury to his bottom hand when batting lefthanded affected his hitting. Had he been healthy and able to catch, Romo would have been a candidate to play in the Arizona Fall League.
“He’s a very special talent on the defensive side of the ball,” Stender said. “You also have a potentially average hit tool from a switch-hitting catcher. Really short compact swing to the ball. Very simple operation from both sides.
“I think the power will come a little bit. It’ll be maybe a little bit below-average, but obviously as he develops man strength, it could be special on both sides of the ball and obviously at a position that everybody needs. He’s a very tantalizing prospect.”
— Dustin Garneau, 35, who announced his retirement as a player in October, returned to the Rockies’ organization as the catching and game-planning coordinator. They drafted him in the 19th round in 2009 out of Cal State Fullerton. Garneau played 168 games in the majors over eight seasons with six teams, including 68 games in three seasons with the Rockies in 2015-2017. He also played 795 games in the minors over 13 seasons.
— The Rockies’ ongoing search for pitching led them to acquire 23-year-old righthander Nick Garcia from the Pirates for first baseman/outfielder Connor Joe. The Pirates drafted Garcia in the…