JoJo Romero was once an intriguing pitching prospect for the Phillies. The lefty reliever was drafted in 2016, and rose through the system, reaching the major league team in 2020. Like just about every other reliever used by the Phillies that season, he didn’t pitch well, with Romero’s high walk numbers being the primary source of his woes.
Despite those struggles, he gained a cult following for his Red Bull chugging before entering games.
Phillies reliever Jojo Romero pounds a sugar free Red Bull before entering game. He throws one pitch to induce an inning ending double play and gets out of a bases loaded jam. #Phillies #RingTheBell #JoJoRomero #RedBull @Phillies @jojothejet6 @redbull pic.twitter.com/yLS67M42Jo— iradiophilly (@iradiophilly) September 16, 2020
In 2021, the team began using him in a mid-relief role, but he once again had control issues. Any hope of turning around his season ended when he tore an elbow ligament which required Tommy John surgery.
Joe Girardi said LHP JoJo Romero will have Tommy John surgery. Team earlier transferred him to 60-day IL.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) May 18, 2021
Romero returned to action in July 2022, but after just two appearances with the Phillies - one of which was really bad - he was traded to the Cardinals in exchange for Edmundo Sosa.
The stats (with Phillies): 2 games, 2 IP, 0-0 W-L, 13.50 ERA, 4.5 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 0.0 bWAR
Romero was able to make a quick recovery from Tommy John surgery which is an accomplishment in itself. That allowed him to be used to trade for Sosa who became a valuable contributor for the Phillies in the second half.
Romero has yet to establish himself as a quality reliever and walks too many batters. Accordingly, he was not included on the Cardinals’ postseason roster.
Since he’s a left-handed pitcher, it seems assured that he’ll get plenty of chances to succeed. He’ll likely be competing for a spot in the Cardinals’ bullpen.
Final grade: Incomplete
It’s hard to judge a guy based on just two appearances, but since he was able to recover quickly and fetch the Phillies a useful player in return, I consider his season to be a success.
And since there wasn’t much to be said about Romero, here’s a Red Bull commercial featuring Santa: