The Rays ended June on a high note. If you need a closer or just bullpen depth, Sergio Romo is widely available and needs to be owned.
The Tampa Bay Rays are over .500 at the halfway point of the season. They are 42-41 and third in the American League East, surprising a lot of people. Even after trading some of their top players, the team is still performing. One of those players that has stepped up is closer Sergio Romo.
Romo was traded to the Rays at the deadline last season. He was then granted free agency but signed a one-year deal to go back to Tampa Bay. He was the set-up man behind Alex Colome but struggled in the first two months.
In April and May, Romo posted a 5.75 ERA, 1.623 WHIP and a 28:10 K:BB ratio. He also had four losses and three blown saves in that span. Since taking over the closer role, Romo was a completely different pitcher.
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Over his last 15 innings, Romo posted a 3.00 ERA, 0.933 WHIP, eight saves in nine opportunities and a 10:4 K:BB ratio. He made one start in that time, a part of the Rays “opener” strategy, which has worked to everyone’s disbelief. The team had a 2.92 ERA in June, third-best in the league.
Romo is also doing a better job of keeping the ball on the ground. He finished June with a 51.5 percent ground ball rate compared to 33.3 percent in April. Romo gave up just a 25.0 percent fly ball rate and a 0.00 percent HR/FB rate. However, he gave up a ninth-inning home run to Evan Gattis on Sunday.
The Rays have deployed some interesting pitching strategies like I mentioned above, but it’s somehow working. Romo seems to be the go-to reliever in the ninth inning. If the Rays continue to play well and compete, not necessarily win, then Romo will get work.
With Ryan Tepera, Hunter Strickland, Shane Green and Arodys Vizcaino hurt, Roberto Osuna suspended and Kelvin Herrera losing saves now that he’s in Washington, fantasy owners are in need of a full-time closer. As long as Romo keeps this up, he is worth adding to your team.
Romo is owned in just 19.0 percent of ESPN leagues and 37 percent of CBS Sports leagues. That is still low for someone performing at his recent level. Owners may be wary that he’ll come back to Earth but that’s your opportunity to strike. Add him now.