Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 3/6/13
It might be hard to believe this after Sergio Romo closed out the World Series and probably wrapped up the stopper role going forward for the Giants and Team Mexico, but there was a time when the prognosis for his career was much more negative. After all, he’s a small righty (five-foot-ten and a buck-eighty-five) with a fastball that doesn’t normally crack 90 miles per hour who throws his slider more than half of the time. Given what we might know about injuries and platoon splits, there was probably one role waiting for him in the bigs: ROOGY. But Sergio Romo is not a Righty One-Out GuY. I asked him why. “It’s all about having confidence in my stuff and my abilities,” said Romo when I asked him about platoon splits and his approach against lefties. At first blush, that seems like an evasion. We know that sliders have one of the worst platoon splits of any pitch, and so it’s unlikely that the reliever would continue to throw the pitch more than half of the time against lefties. And he doesn’t: vs RHB vs LHB Slider 0.65 0.26 Sinker 0.09 0.35 Fastball 0.26 0.30 Change 0.00 0.08 He’s only faced 306 lefties, but that’s over a third of the batters he’s seen. So, though there were some high-profile moments where Romo was sharing his closing duty with a lefty, he’s seen just about the league average of lefties. And he’s held them to a .237 wOBA, which is better than the .241 wOBA he’s allowed to righties. But ‘trusting his stuff’ doesn’t mean constantly throwing sliders because they are his best pitch. In fact, it means trusting a pitch that you don’t see much of — his changeup — a little more. It means ditching half his sliders for sinkers. And it means that calling him a fastball/slider guy isn’t quite right. “I’m a sinker-slider type guy,” Romo says, “and I’m more of a control guy.” Watch where he puts his sinkers against lefties: Just as he uses the slider on the outside corner against righties, Romo uses his sinker on the outside corner against lefties. I asked him to talk about that fastball that allows him to evade platoon splits despite mediocre velocity. “My fastball? Don’t sleep on it!” he said with a smile. “I feel like I got a sneaky fast fastball — I don’t throw 95, so I don’t try to throw 95.” He added that he just tries to keep the ball down in the zone, an adage that fits the heatmaps. But it is interesting to hear him talk about one name, and it might be the name that helps Romo stand out from the list of Relievers Without a Fastball. “I used to idolize Greg Maddux when I was younger, those were the days that he didn’t throw 94, 95, 96.” It’d be fun if Sergio Romo had something in common with the patron saint of iffy-velocitied fastballs, wouldn’t it? It might not seem so at first, but maybe there is a similarity. We don’t have a ton of PITCHf/x data on Greg Maddux, and it is late career, but his fastball averaged -8.7 inches of movement horizontally and 5.8 inches vertically. Romo’s clocks in a -7.5 and 6.6 inches, respectively. But there’s another way to look at this: among qualified righty relievers last season, Romo’s horizontal movement on his fastball was 11th-most. His sinker has even more horizontal movement — 10.5 inches, and fifth-most in baseball over the last three years. And they both have career walk rates around five percent! Sergio Romo doesn’t have to be Greg Maddux to not be a ROOGY. His fastball doesn’t have to be as good as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But that fastball and sinker do have elite horizontal movement, and they do break in the opposite direction of his slider. That movement, plus his great control, have helped Romo avoid getting pigeonholed as a guy who couldn’t get lefties out. Don’t sleep on that fastball, indeed.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: LeBron won't negotiate with Cavs until Thompson is signed

Andrei Kostitsyn interested in return to NHL

Blazers fire assistant who said Aldridge was leaving team

Miguel Cabrera lands on DL for first time in his career

LaMarcus Aldridge chooses to sign with Spurs


WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

Mavs solidify future, sign Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Gregg Popovich plans to fulfill five-year contract

4-Star LB commits to Kentucky, zings Louisville

Clay Buchholz not worried about trade rumors

All hope isn't completely lost for this year's Milwaukee Brewers

Roy Hibbert likely being traded to Lakers

Watch: Pablo Sandoval falls over railing during catch

Report: Packers TE charged with firing a gun in Miami

Kawhi, LaMarcus, the mid-range and the Spurs' next epoch

How can Rafael Nadal regain his dominance?

NBA Rumors: Cavs and Spurs vying for David West

Damian Lillard is the Blazers’ new franchise player

WATCH: Bryce Harper hits HR with patriotic bat

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.