Red Sox under the radar prospect: Jake Romanski
Do the Red Sox have another possible surprise as a catcher lurking in their farm system? Jake Romanski is considered a fringe prospect – for now.
Jake Romanski is a name you have most likely not heard mentioned when Red Sox prospects are discussed. No Futures Games or on the top ten list of any evaluation sites or even the top 50 list. Romanski may be following in the path of another catcher within the organization that certainly is not a buzz word among fans.
Organizational catcher is a polite baseball term for having no MLB future as you serve your time in various minor league outposts before advancing to coach or manager. An upward mobility for players whose future hopes for an MLB paycheck vanishes each season.
The players that are ‘organizational” generally show up at spring training and go directly to the minor league camp for assignment. The Red Sox minor league roster is dotted with such players and many just stall at Double-A. As they age, they become far more vulnerable as younger and more promising talent surfaces and they are simply removed from the organization.
A few seasons ago the Red Sox rewarded such persistence with the well-noted “Cup of coffee” by promoting catcher Dan Butler to Boston for a handful of games. Butler was rewarded by being traded to the Washington Nationals and then being released and re-signed by Boston. If one wishes to associate Butler with “Crash” Davis it is probably quite appropriate – a career minor league player.
Butler is an exception since he made it to “The Show,” but most do not. Some great baseball managers never surfaced in the majors. Joe Maddon, Buck Showalter, and Earl Weaver never made it. Butler is a smart catcher who does how to manage a game and understands all the intricacies of baseball and most likely will be a manager within the system, but is there another?
Another catcher is pulling some playing time with Portland in the Eastern League and having a surprisingly respectful season with the bat. Romanski was a 14th round pick by the Red Sox in 2013 and is similar to what one pictures as a catcher – under six feet in height and a physically on the blocky side – think Butler, Sandy Leon, and Christian Vazquez.
According to Sox Prospects, his future is certainly limited, but so was Butler’s until he got the call. Romanski is not a hitter, but this season the 25-year-old right-hander is holding steady around the .300 mark with little power – gap or otherwise – as noted in Sox Prospects.
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Romanski is one foul tip away from Pawtucket. The PawSox have Vazquez, Butler and Ali Solis on their roster and at any moment Vaz could be promoted or someone else released and that means a job opening for those a bit further down the food chain – such as Romanski.
Romanski has already established his résumé as a defensive player and that is an attention getter with management who realize fragile young pitchers often need a guiding hand to move them along – that certainly rings true with Davis from “Bull Durham.” Romanski does not have any “Nuke” Laloosh types tossing flames at Portland, but in the wings is one in Michael Kopech.
I expect to see Romanski follow a similar career path as Butler and expect the system will reward Romanski in the same way with a brief exposure to MLB and – hopefully – not followed by a release. Romanski will also be that hidden and quite unnoticed by fans, talent that can guide a young pitcher. His recognition will be noted within the organization by players, scouts and baseball operations.
Will Romanski ever be a legitimate prospect?
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The first response is certainly no, but Leon was the same way and he is being quite a find and players do suddenly find their bat as Romanski is this season, so in a few years you may see him arrive and hopefully for more than a “Cup of coffee.”
Sources: Sox Prospects