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Nationals Plan To Develop Seth Romero As Starter



Though lefthander Seth Romero was kicked off his college team at Houston this spring, the Nationals still liked him enough to take him with their first pick of the draft at No. 25 overall.

“I think the kid’s learned his lesson, and he’s going to go out there and be a productive big leaguer,” scouting director Kris Kline told reporters. “His stuff plays in the big leagues right now.”

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Romero had top-10 talent with a 93-96 mph fastball and a solid slider and changeup. He went 4-5, 3.51 with 85 strikeouts and 20 walks in 49 innings this year for the Cougars.

But Romero was suspended once in 2016 for a violation of team rules and again in April. He was reinstated this year after missing a month but then dismissed in May after getting in a fight with a teammate, according to the Houston Chronicle. At the time, he was leading the nation with 15.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

The Chronicle also reported that this year’s suspension was a result of Romero failing a drug test and appearing in uniform holding a bong in a picture taken by young fans. A source told the Chronicle that last year’s suspension was because of his lack of effort in conditioning.

Romero throws from a low three-quarters arm slot and is particularly tough on lefthanders. His slider is a plus pitch, and his changeup offers deception.

Romero, who is advised by the Scott Boras Corp., pitched in relief in 19 of his 47 college outings. Overall, he went 17-13, 2.43 with 290 strikeouts and 70 walks in 226 innings.

The 21-year-old has a chance to rise through the minors quickly if he shows improved makeup, but Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo quashed discussion of Romero perhaps being an option for this year’s beleaguered major league bullpen. The franchise plans to develop him as a starter.

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“We expect him to conduct himself with maturity and be a professional—and be accountable for his actions and to immerse himself within our organization,” Rizzo said. “Our player-development guys do a really good job of teaching them the Nationals’ way.”

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