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The Season That Was: Jordan Romano

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

I still have a couple more of these I want to get to, it is just finding the game in the runup to Christmas.

Coming into the 2023 season, Jordan Romano had been our closer for two years, and there was no doubt he would be doing the job again this year. He had 61 saves with 8 blown saves for an 88% save percentage.

He came into the season with a 2.58 ERA in 157 games, with 60 walks and 200 strikeouts in 157 innings. In Jordan’s two seasons as closer, batters hit .186/.267/.286 against him.

There wasn’t too much to complain about.

This year?

Standard Pitching
Age W L ERA G GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP
30 5 7 2.90 59 49 36 59.0 48 20 19 6 24 5 72 2 1 0 248 147 3.46
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/16/2023.

Baseball Reference has him at a 2.1 WAR (2.9 last year). Fangraphs 1.2 (1.6 last year), giving him a value of $9.8 million to the Jays.

Jordan had a .292 BABIP (up from .256 last year). 82.3% of baserunners were left on base (80.4% last year).

Romano’s FIP was 3.46, and xFIP 4.01.

His line drive rate was 18.2% (up from 17.1 last year). Ground ball 36.5% (down from 43.7 last year). Fly ball rate is 45.3% (up from 39.2 last year). And 9.0% of his fly balls left the part (last year, it was 6.5).

Jordan’s strikeout rate was 29.0% (up slightly from 28.3), and his walk rate was 9.7% (up from last year’s 8.1%).

His soft contact rate was 18.0% (up from 13.8), and hard contact was 36.0% (up from 33.3).

Jordan was better vs. right-handed batters (.210/.290/.290) than left-handed batters (.229/.315/.427). He had more trouble vs. LHB than in the past.

Jordan was slightly better at home (2.48 ERA, batters hit .206/.286/.374) than on the road (3.30, .230/.315/.327). Or at least he had a better ERA at home.

He was about the same in the first half (2.87, .217/.277/.357) as in the second half (2.95,.221/.341/.338), but he walked batters more in the second half.

Jordan by month:

  • April: 2-1, 9 saves, 1 BS, 2.92 ERA in 13. Batters hit .213/.289/.255 with 0 home runs, 4 walks and 16 strikeouts in 12.1 innings.
  • May: 1-1, 3 saves, 2 BS, 3.12 ERA in 9 games. Batters hit .257/.297/.457 with 2 home runs, 2 walks, and 11 strikeouts in 8.2 innings.
  • June: 0-1, 12 saves, 2.84 ERA in 13 games. Batters hit .229/.275/.396 with 1 home run, 3 walks, and 14 strikeouts in 12.2 innings.
  • July: 1-2, 4 saves, 2.16 ERA in * games. Batters hit .185/.353/.296 with 1 home run, 6 walks and 10 strikeouts in 8.1 innings.
  • August 0-0, 3 saves, 0.00 ERA in 4 games. Batters hit .125/.263/.125 with 0 home runs, 3 walks and 7 strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
  • September: 1-2, 5 saves, 1 BS, 4.38 ERA in 11 games. Batters hit .234/.321/.426 with 2 home runs, 6 walks and 14 strikeouts in 12.1 innings.

You’ll likely remember he missed time in August with a back injury.

Jordan had:

  • 1 game with 3 earned runs.
  • 2 games with 2 earned.
  • 12 games with 1 earned.
  • 44 games with no earned runs.

The Jays were 48-11 in games Romano appeared in.

Days of rest:

  • 0: 12 games, 2.92 ERA.
  • 1: 15 games, 3.21 ERA.
  • 2: 12 games, 4.38 ERA.
  • 3: 10 games, 2.70 ERA.
  • 4: 5 games, 1.80 ERA.
  • 5: 2 games, 0 ERA.
  • 6+: 3 games, 0 ERA.

Batters hit .165/.297/.259 against him with RISP.

In saves situations: 2.38 ERA, .222/.289/.298.

Non-save: 4.15, 210/.329/.484.

In extra innings, with the runner on second: 1.00 ERA, .037/.188/.148.

In high-leverage spots, batters hit .207/.323/.378.

Low-leverage: .217/.234/.239, but you don’t get all that many low-leverage spots as a closer.

Jordan had 36 saves, 2 holds, and 4 blown saves.


So it wasn’t as good a season as his last two, but still a good season. He had a .651 OPS against, compared to .531 in 2022 and .576 in 2021.

His fastball was much the same as last year, 96.7 mph, 96.9 last year. But the hard contact rate has increased 36.0% this year, 33.3% last year, and 25.4% in 2021. It would be nice to reverse that trend.

It is funny that he had bad numbers in tie games (batters hit .269/.377/.539) when he only allowed 1 hit in extra innings, which are, you know, tie games. I don’t think his numbers in tie games mean anything. It was only 62 PA, but it will be interesting to watch next year.

Another small sample size thing, batters line by catcher:

Kirk: .196/.267/.286, in 147 PA.

Jansen: .243/.321/.443 in 79 PA.

Heineman: .294/.455/.471 in 22 PA./

He isn’t a free agent until after the 2025 season. A good 2024 season could push the front office into making him a long-term deal.

Before the season, we asked:

  • Over/under on ERA at 3.47: 92% were right, taking the under.
  • Over/under at 33 saves: 58% were right, taking the over.
  • We also asked how many saves he would have at the end of his time as a Blue Jay. Most guessed he’d have between 121 and 217, putting him second All-Time among Jays pitchers. Right now, he has 97 saves, fifth in Jay's history. His 8th next year will put him third, and his 25th will put him second. After that, he’ll be 3 years from possibly catching Tom Henke at 217.

Poll

For his 2023 season I’d great Jordan Romano an

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    A
    (64 votes)
  • 47%
    B+
    (134 votes)
  • 20%
    B
    (58 votes)
  • 5%
    B-
    (17 votes)
  • 2%
    C+
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    C
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    C-
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    D+
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    D
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    D-
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (1 vote)
285 votes total Vote Now