Drew Romo, a switch-hitting catcher and graduate of The Woodlands High School in Texas, was the Rockies’ 35th pick overall in the Competitive Balance Round A. On Thursday, he met with media to discuss his baseball background and draft experience.
A little background
Romo learned the most about how baseball works through his father, a long-time baseball coach, and his older brother. He first learned at a San Antonio high school before the Romos moved to The Woodlands to allow the boys to play with the Banditos Baseball Club. Drew has an older brother, Dylan (a pitcher and third baseman) and spent time as the bat boy on Dylan’s team.
“I was always watching him play,” Romo said. “My dad and my older brother Dylan, they had a big influence on me, and they taught me a lot about the game. I fell in love with it. I started watching a lot of baseball.”
He added, grinning, “I would stand in front of the TV in my diaper as a little baby — my parents have pictures of me — and I fell in love with the game.”
Perhaps The Woodlands’ most famous baseball graduate is Paul Goldschmidt. Romo has never met or talked with Goldschmidt, “but I hear a lot about him,” he said. “He left a good legacy here.”
The decision to play catcher
Romo decided at age 12 to move from shortstop to catcher. According to him, “I played infield my whole amateur career, mainly shortstop and second base up the middle. I went behind the plate once, just to try it out, and I was really good at it. I was a natural. I think infield really helped me with my skills and my agility behind the plate. That just carried over to where I am right now.”
Romo loves catching because “not a lot of people do it.”
He elaborated, stating, “Catching’s a grind. I love the hard work that comes with it. If you go to showcases as you’re going up, there are 50 shortstops, 50 outfielders, and then, like seven or eight catchers. For me, it was really easy to stand out, and it made a lot of sense for me. I just loved doing it.”
In terms of the biggest challenge of catching, Romo says, “The hard work, the practice every day.”
He added, “Getting all sweaty, my gear gets so soaked with sweat I have to air it out and hang it up in my garage.” [Author’s note: Drew, I lived in College Station for years. Trust me: Baseball at elevation is going to solve some of those sweaty-gear problems.]
Romo stressed the importance of having a good game plan, especially as a catcher.
“That’s a really important part of the game, especially for catchers,” he said, “not only the defense but being the leader of the team and the captain. You really do have a big influence over the game behind the plate. I try my best to help out my pitcher. I always make sure I get to know the guy. I always make sure we have a game plan heading into it. I do my best to know what pitches he likes to throw in certain situations. The more I know about my pitcher, the more confidence I have going into a game and executing in a big situation.”
The draft process
Romo mentioned that he had been in frequent contact with the Rockies prior to the draft.
“We had a really good feeling about the Rockies,” he said. “We love the organization. We did a lot of research, and we had a really good feeling about the Rockies.” There were other teams that “had a good interest” in Romo, “but the Rockies were definitely one of the teams that had the most. They’re just a great organization.”
He said he had few expectations going into the draft, but he knew 35 was “a pretty good spot” for him.
“I wasn’t too surprised. I had a really good feeling about it,” he said.
He also couldn’t resist following some mock drafts.
“It’s pretty hard not to pay attention,” he said, “it’s a really good feeling to be recognized for hard work and performance.”
“It is what it is,” he added.
Romo has spent time on the field with the Rockies earlier draft pick, outfielder Zac Veen. Romo met Veen in the summer of 2019. Of the outfielder, Romo said, “He’s a great guy. He’s a great competitor. He’s a really smart kid, a good guy, too. I love playing with him, and I look forward to playing with him as well.”
Currently, Romo is committed to LSU but is unsure if he’ll keep that commitment.
“I’m just looking forward to talking with the Rockies right now,” he said. “It is a difficult decision.” Romo spoke highly of the program, calling it “the best in the country,” and praising its coaching staff and fans before concluding, “I’m very thankful for everything they’ve done for me.” [Author note: As a Texas Aggie, I question whether LSU has the greatest fans.]
For Romo, the process in the spring has been challenging since he has no baseball but lots of Zoom calls.
“It was tough not being able to finish my high school career,” he said,” but I’m very thankful for all the memories and all the hard work that I’ve put in with all the coaches and my teammates at The Woodlands.”
Then he added, “These last few months, my big mantra has been just control what you can control. I’ve been working really hard. I’ve been seeing this as an opportunity to work hard and elevate my game and separate myself from my competition. I’m just doing everything that I can so once baseball starts back up, I’m going to be ready to just go after it.”
Romo is confident he has the “grittiness” to become a big-league catcher.
“Grit is a bit part of it,” he said. “For me, I’ve just worked so hard my entire baseball career. I’m very thankful and blessed to have a lot of natural talent, but in order to separate myself, it’s taken a lot of hard work.”
He added, “And that doesn’t stop. This is just the first step towards a long career.”
One concern about Romo is his offense. But he isn’t worried.
“Both of my swings feel great right now,” the switch-hitting catcher said. “Both feel even and balanced on both sides. I’ve proved to myself and to many people that I can hit at the highest level, and I’ve been doing it for a few years. I have a lot of confidence at the plate right now.”
Baseball-wise for the next few months, Romo plans to continue on his current strength and conditioning programs and baseball training.
“As for the next couple months, I’m not sure what to expect, so for now, I’m just staying as ready as I can, and I look forward to start playing again.” He’s been catching a Woodlands pitcher as well as some Woodlands graduates now playing college baseball to stay in practice.