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June 4, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Q&A with Eddie Romero, Jr.

Following up on the recent kick-off of the Dominican Summer League season, I exchanged a few questions with Eddie Romero, Jr., Boston’s Assistant Director of Latin American Operations. Recently promoted after four years in the organization, Romero now oversees all aspects of the Latin American operations from the Red Sox Academy in the Dominican Republic. Thanks to Eddie for graciously taking the time out of his busy daily schedule to discuss some of the up-and-coming Latin American prospects in the Sox system.

Jonathan Singer: Who are the top players we should keep an eye on for the DSL Red Sox this year?
Eddie Romero: We’re really excited about a few of our starting pitchers making their pro debuts, like Raul Alcantara, Mario Alcantara, and Sully Bonnelly. Yunior Ortega has experience in the DSL and pitched well for us last season, so we’re hopeful he can continue that. From a position player standpoint, Dreily Guerrero and Lewis Urena are two players who have played in the DSL, and they really will lead our team. They are both versatile players with an advanced feel for the game.

JS: Last season Francisco Taveras and Juan Rodriguez really impressed in the DSL, presumably earning them promotions to play in the U.S. this year. What made them so successful?
ER: Both Francisco and Juan have improved their deliveries and learned to better repeat their mechanics, which in turn has led to better fastball command. That’s the most important key at this stage in there development. And while performance at that level isn’t a tell-all, they did both put up good numbers over the summer last year.

JS: Ortega is another pitcher who put up some impressive stats in the DSL in 2009, but he didn’t receive an invitation to spring training this year. What advances does he need to make to take his game to the next level?
ER: Yunior did everything we asked of him, and had a very good 2009 season. Sometimes, due to roster limits and other things that are out of a player’s control, we cannot bring everyone we would like to the States. He has continued to work hard in the Dominican Republic and will be one of our priority arms down there. As with everyone at the academy, consistency is the key.

JS: Has a final decision been made on whether 16-year-old shortstop Jose Vinicio will play in the U.S. this year? In your eyes, what makes Vinicio so advanced that the organization is considering bringing him to the United States at such an early age?
ER: That decision has yet to be made. Jose has showed impressive defensive abilities and a natural feel for the shortstop position, plus the ability to hold his own offensively at such a young age against much older competition. He has great instincts despite his youth. Craig Shipley and the scouting staff did a tremendous job scouting Jose for a long time and really getting to know him, and we’re thrilled he signed with us.

JS: Can you tell us about the progress that Oscar Perez has made over the last year?
ER: Oscar has really made strides at an impressive pace while being so young. He has really improved his consistency behind the plate. He has a very strong, accurate arm and is learning how to handle a pitching staff. On the offensive side, he’s made some adjustments on being more direct to the ball and utilizing all fields. He’s going to be fun to watch progress.