The Woodlands High School in Texas has produced five MLB players. The most notable of that group is Paul Goldschmidt, but they have also seen alumni, such as Kyle Drabek and Jameson Taillon, get drafted in the first round. Both of those lists could see a new name added in Drew Romo.
Romo is a switch-hitting catcher that is committed to LSU. He has an athletic six-foot-one-inch, 210-pound frame. His superb defense behind the plate allowed him to lock down the starting catcher spot on the US 18U team for two seasons. Additionally, he was selected to play in the 2019 Perfect Game All-America Classic.
MLB.com ranks him as the 35th-best prospect in the draft. He is fourth on the draft board among catchers and second among high school catchers.
Romo is defense-first catcher, and scouts feel has has the potential to be a Gold Glove winner in the future. He possesses soft hands and quick pop time to make the transfer from receiving the baseball to throwing to second base appear seamless. During drills, his pop time clocks in as fast as 1.76 seconds.
Mechanically, he stays compact and low to the ground in his crouch, and he has exceptional footwork. Scouts grade his arm and field tools as 60/80, or above average. Additionally, scouts praise his leadership, work ethic, and baseball IQ.
Romo is a better contact hitter than power hitter. His swing is better from the left side generating good torque with his hips to produce effortless bat speed. He put on a good enough display against quality pitching in the summer for scouts to think his bat can play at the MLB level as a decent contact and on-base hitter.
Also worth noting is that although Romo is graded at 40/80 for his speed, he can run the bases better than most catchers.
Some catchers are known for good defense and the ability to put a pitch over the wall. Drew Romo is not one of those catchers. Scouts project his power tool as a 45/80 grade That is nothing to get excited about although scouts feel he can become a 12-15 home run per season type of player so he will not be a total liability in the power department.
As mentioned, scouts think that Romo can develop into a decent contact hitter. Specifically, a hitter in the .260 range. However, there were questions about his hitting prior to the summer of 2019, and he did not start 2020 well before the season was cancelled. Therefore, it is worth keeping an eye on his consistency at the plate as he develops.
One other weakness that does not apply to just Romo is his age. High school catchers do not have a great track record as first-round picks. MLB.com notes that the only catcher taken in the first round in the last 37 drafts to accrue a WAR of 5.0 in MLB is Joe Mauer. That is certainly concerning, but it should not be the reason a team passes on a player with Romo’s skill set.
Drew Romo’s profile shows similarities to that of Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals. Perez missed 2019 due to injury, but he had won five Gold Gloves in six years through 2018. Similar to Romo, Perez has a good arm and pop time from behind the plate. For Perez, that translated to throwing out seven percent more baserunners than the league average as well as leading the league in caught stealing percentage in 2012 and 2016.
The two catchers also feature similar hitting abilities. Scouts feel that Romo will be a .260 hitter and Perez’s career average is .266. Perez hits for more power with less on-base ability than what scouts expect of Romo, but their pure hitting ability is in the same ballpark.
Drew Romo’s ability to put the bat on the ball should translate well enough to contribute at the MLB level, but it will be his defense that will be the best asset as a professional.
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