The Nationals have finalized a deal with first-rounder Seth Romero, who has passed his physical and officially signed a contract, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (Twitter links). He’ll take home a $2.8MM bonus that comes in a bit above his $2,530,400 draft slot, Heyman adds. Romero was advised by and is now represented by agent Scott Boras.
A left-handed pitcher out of the University of Houston, Romero would likely have gone higher in the draft than the 25th overall selection (where Washington took him) had it not been for significant makeup concerns. Romero was kicked off the team in Houston a month before the draft after repeated off-field incidents, including a failed drug test, a physical altercation with one of his teammates and being photographed holding a bong in full uniform, per a separate pair of reports from the Houston Chronicle’s Joseph Duarte.
Romero ranked 24th on MLB.com’s list of the top 200 draft prospects, while Baseball America ranked him 27th on their top 500, Fangraphs ranked him 36th and ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him 59th. The aforementioned makeup issues factored into each of those rankings, as BA and Law both called him a top 10 talent based purely on his pitching acumen. Romero’s fastball sits in the 92-95 mph range and reaches 97, and the pitch is complemented by a plus slider and potentially above-average changeup. BA also notes that he’s advanced enough to help out a big league bullpen later this year, though the Nats told reporters after the draft that they view Romero as a starter.