Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Avery Romero, a Marlins 2012 third-round pick, does not have the quickness and reflexes to play shortstop like he did in high school. What position suits Romero, and will his bat be enough to play there?
Avery Romero, the Miami Marlins' third-round selection in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft, might have gone even earlier in the draft if he was not viewed as a tough sign. A shortstop committed to the University of Florida, the Marlins needed to offer him $242,000 over slot to get him to turn professional. Romero has the bat to play shortstop or second, but whether or not he can hit enough to play third base is up for discussion. Simply put, Romero does not have the athleticism and quickness needed to play shortstop in the pros. Avery Romero needs a position, and it remains to be seen at which one he will be able to maximize his potential.
Pedro Menedez High School in St. Augustine is not exactly known for baseball. Avery Romero is by far the highest drafted player to ever come from Pedro Menedez, and even in his senior season, the Falcons finished with a mediocre 12-12 record. Romero could not have asked for much more from the University of Florida. If he were to attend Florida, he would have had a chance to play everyday as a freshman. Nonetheless, Romero probably made a good decision by choosing to go pro after high school. One important thing to note is that Romero is old for a player just drafted out of high school; he was born in May of 1993.
Avery Romero stands 5'11'' and weighs about 195 pounds. Heading into the draft, there was some buzz around front offices that Romero could be drafted as a catcher. While this seems very far-fetched, he does have the frame of a catcher. According to Perfect Game, Romero has been recorded throwing 90 mph. Defensively, his arm is definitely his strength. Also, Romero is known for having a great work ethic and good makeup. While this is often overlooked in prospects, it says something to how well the player is willing to take coaching and use it. Assuming the Marlins don't want to try Romero at catcher, Second Base and Third Base are the most likely destinations for this 19-year-old athlete.
Second base is a position that the Marlins will have a future star at down the road. Between Romero, Austin Barnes, and Noah Perio, Miami will have plenty of options in the coming years. Romero might have the best bat out of the bunch, but playing him at second might be a waste of his defensive potential. The Marlins would be smart to try to teach Romero how to play third, an area of little to no depth in the farm system, rather then take the easy route and put Romero at second.
Avery Romero will need at least three years playing third base in the minors before he'll be ready for the bigs. Due to his frame, strong arm, and bulky lower half, he looks like a third baseman. However, playing third will require Romero to hit for power and improve his reflexes. Romero can do both of those things, but he will never be more than average defensively at third. His true value will start and end with what he can do at the plate.
When Avery Romero talked with MLB.com after being drafted, I think he summed up what the consensus believes, "As long as I hit, I think I should find a position fine," Romero said. With Avery Romero's gap power and potential to hit around 20 homers per season, he'll find a spot on the field. However, if he puts in enough work and his body allows it, Romero could become a much more valuable asset at third base. Avery Romero has the chance to be an above-average player in the majors down the road; he just needs to find a way to get on the field.