2012 draft: Interview with Florida high school standout Avery Romero
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Avery Romero is a 6’-1”, 195-pound shortstop from Pedro Menendez HS in Florida. He is ranked among the top-50 players in the nation by Keith Law at ESPN and has a commitment to play his college ball at the University of Florida. Aside from his talents, he is known for being extremely coachable with his strong work ethic and competitiveness. He was a member of the U18 Team Puerto Rico at the 2011 Pan Am Championships, and he also finished third at the annual Perfect Game Power Showcase held at Chase Field as a junior. I recently had a chance to bounce some questions off Avery and would like to thank him for his time and wish him the best of luck in the upcoming draft!
Some scouts say you will most likely outgrow your current position, shortstop. What do you say to those reports, and what position do you see yourself eventually playing?
I definitely love playing shortstop. It’s my favorite position to play. I want to play shortstop as long as I can, but I could see myself playing second base in the future. Ultimately, my goal is to play in the majors, and if I have to make a position change to do it, I am open to it.
You are known for having a very strong arm, one of the strongest at your position. How did you develop it?
Probably from years of being at the park, playing catch and always being around the game ever since I was little. I have three older brothers, so I’ve always been at the field. I work hard on my exercises, and I spend a lot of time making sure my shoulders and arms are in the best of shape.
Your bat is regarded as one of the best in the nation, especially the power. What part of your game have you worked on the most this season?
I love hitting the most, but this season I’ve worked on getting stronger, quick-twitch muscles. I’ve been working out to try to make my game quicker. Players at the next level are faster, so I have to keep up! That doesn’t mean I don’t work on my hitting. I still, and will always, do that. But defense is a big part of the game, and there is always room for improvement.
A lot of high school players are dead-pull hitters. You have the ability to go opposite field with prodigious power. How have you worked on that aspect of hitting, and is there anything better than an oppo home run?
I believe being able to hit to all fields is important to being a good hitter. I’ve always worked on that in the batting cage. There’s no better feeling than taking an outside pitch and driving it over the fence. In fact, my first at-bat this year, I hit an opposite-field home run. I work a lot on trying to hit the low outside pitch because that is where most pitchers try and pitch me.
I have noticed two variations to your swing. A closed-hands follow through, and an open one. Does the situation dictate each one, or is it something that happens naturally without thinking?
That’s something that happens naturally. Sometimes when I get a hold of a pitch, I let my top hand go. I don’t think about it. It just happens. I guess that is something I have been doing since I was little. Most of the time I’m trying to keep my swing the same.
The state of Florida is always a hotbed for baseball talent, especially this year. With guys like Albert Almora, Lance McCullers, Walker Weickel, among others, does the talent level give you extra motivation to keep improving your game to stay among the elite?
First of all, I’m lucky to be able to play in Florida with all this talent. I enjoy competing against the best, but I don’t compare myself to them. I’m very self-motivated and I challenge myself. I always try to be the best player I can be.
You have participated in some big events during your high school career, including the 2010 and 2011 Perfect Game Power Showcase held at Chase Field. Tell us about that experience and what you took away from it.
It was awesome to be able to play in that ballpark. There were a lot of great players. It’s always fun to try to let the ball fly. There were over a hundred hitters at the event, and I placed third my junior year. I got to meet a lot of great hitters and also great people. One of my greatest thrills was meeting Babe Ruth’s granddaughter. She was awesome. I could see in her eyes the love she has for the game. I felt we had something in common. Fans like that are what makes baseball so special.
You represented Puerto Rico at the COPABE AAA/U18 Pan Am Championships in Colombia this past Fall. What was that experience like, both playing against the best players in the world and the culture of baseball, and life, in another country?
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