The 2022 MLB Draft will begin on July 17, 2022. We take a look at Mikey Romero, a smooth middle infielder who is widely viewed as one of the draft’s top prep shortstops.
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Mikey Romero, Shortstop, Orange Lutheran (CA)
Weight: 175 lbs.
Stats: 30 G, .372/.416/.659, 24 R, 26 RBI, 4 HR, 8 BB, 7 K, 1 SB
Romero is a talented, left-handed-hitting infielder who is viewed by many as the top prep shortstop in the upcoming draft. The LSU recruit makes impressive contact from the left side of the plate and complements it with slick defensive work in the field. As Romero continues to fill out his frame, he should develop into a high-caliber athlete who excels both at the plate and in the field.
Time and time again, Romero demonstrated just how impressive his offensive production can be. While batting, the 18-year-old stays back and waits for pitches to enter his zone. This allows him to make square contact, as well as pepper the ball to all parts of the field. He has quick hands, good bat speed, burst out of the box, and a knack for finding gaps in right field. Furthermore, up to this point, he has limited strikeouts very nicely.
Defensively, Romero boasts a reliable glove and smooth hands. He has enough range to stick at shortstop long-term, as well as an equally strong arm that has no trouble crossing the diamond. He rounds out his defensive profile with good instincts and smooth footwork.
The biggest weakness in Romero’s game is his lack of power. He has hit just five home runs over his last two years of prep ball, and although he should add some power as he continues to build his body, it’s hard to imagine he’ll ever be a true power hitter. Additionally, Romero’s film shows a few instances of inaccurate throws to first base. More often than not, he hits the first baseman with ease, but it will be important for him to develop more accuracy as he transitions to pro ball.
Pro Comparison: J.P. Crawford
Similarities abound between Romero and Crawford, who has impressed at the plate for the Mariners this season. A first-round pick out of high school in 2013, Crawford is a solid defender (19.7 dWAR through five-plus seasons) and also hits from the left side of the plate. He puts the ball in play (.297 batting average this season), limits strikeouts (15.4 percent strikeout rate), and gets on base (11.4 percent walk rate). Neither Crawford nor Romero is exceptionally speedy, but they both have enough range, footwork, and arm strength to be starting-caliber shortstops in MLB.
Draft Projection: Second Round
Some projections view Romero as a third-rounder, but that feels too low. Not only is he a talented infielder, but he might be the best prep shortstop in the draft. Letting talent like that slide into the third round is foolish. Romero is also a well-rounded player, so although he still has room to develop, scouts know that they’re not sacrificing offense for defense (or vice versa) by selecting him.