Over the off-season, FanGraphs released an article naming Deibinson Romero as the top minor league free agent, based on Steamer projections. Those projections had Romero as a 1.9 WAR player if he was a league average third baseman, or a 1.0 WAR player with less than league average third base defense. The hope was that he would live up to those projections, providing the Pirates with some good depth at third base if Josh Harrison went down with an injury.
So far, things are looking good. Romero posted a .320/.463/.640 line in 68 plate appearances, with four home runs for Indianapolis. That’s a strong start to the year, and gives hope that Romero could live up to that strong depth option. His start also made him the Pirates Prospects Minor League Player of the Month for April.
The Pirates got a lot of strong hitting from the minors in the early part of the year, with plenty of hitters over an .800 OPS, and a few over a .900 OPS. Romero was the only hitter with a significant amount of at-bats who was over the 1.000 mark. Along with the good numbers, he also had an impressive 8:13 K/BB ratio, showing a good approach at the plate.
In his career, Romero has a .269/.373/.427 line in 918 plate appearances at the Triple-A level, including his time in 2015. So it seems unlikely that he will continue this massive pace. That said, it is encouraging to see him off to a strong start, and it will be interesting to see if he factors into the MLB mix by the end of the year.
Players of the Month by Level
Indianapolis – Deibinson Romero, 3B (.320/.463/.640, 68 PA, 4 HR)
Altoona – Josh Bell, 1B (.352/.418/.451, 80 PA, 0 HR)
Bradenton – Jin-De Jhang, C/DH (.426/.475/.481, 63 PA, 0 HR)
West Virginia – Chase Simpson, 1B/3B/DH (.322/.444/.542, 72 PA, 3 HR)