Romero doesn't mind getting his uniform dirty
Marlins third-round pick may opt to attend University of Florida
MIAMI -- Avery Romero's teammates used to call him "Pig Pen."
Much like the classic Peanuts character, Romero's uniform was always dirty. Grass stains, dirt, clay -- you name it.
"I was always the dirtiest one coming off the field," said Romero, who was selected in the third round (No. 104 overall) by the Marlins in the First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday. "I was always diving for the ball or sliding head-first."
Romero, a Florida native who attended St. Augustine's Pedro Menendez High School, said he would do whatever it takes to help his team win. After the Marlins drafted him Tuesday, that "anything" could include switching positions from shortstop - his favorite position to play -- to either second or third base.
Scouts have expressed questions about whether or not Romero has the quickness to play shortstop at the next level, and most teams projected him at second or third, while some even gave him a look behind the plate.
"Avery is a strong-bodied guy with power," said Stan Meek, the Marlins' vice president of scouting. "He can play either second or third. He does have power that fits at either one of those spots, and we like him."
Although Romero admitted the joy he gets from playing shortstop, and said he will continue to work to improve at the position, he isn't opposed to a position switch. Romero is open to playing wherever the Marlins believe he fits and whichever position gives him the quickest path to the Majors.
"As long as I hit, I think I should find a position fine," Romero said.
While Meek praised Romero for his power, the 19-year-old prospect said he considers himself more of a gap-to-gap hitter than a power hitter, though power is clearly part of his game and a big reason why the Marlins selected him with their first pick of Day 2.
Whether Romero will join the Marlins, though, remains to be seen. Romero is signed to play college ball at the University of Florida, where he has a full scholarship, and he has until July 13 to decide if he will sign a contract with Miami and join the farm system or move to Gainesville to play for the Gators for the next three to four years.
Romero said he and his family have not begun contract talks with the Marlins and he will see how things work out in the coming weeks. Although he admitted he wants to get to the big leagues an achieve his lifelong dream as soon as possible, he said he has a close relationship with Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan.
"He's the main reason why I made the choice to commit to Florida," Romero said. "He loves baseball and he knows what he's doing. He knows how to make players better. We've been talking to just kind of see what ends up happening in the next couple of weeks."
Whatever his decision turns out to be, Romero is excited by the opportunities in front of him.
"To have a team pick you that's in the state is always exciting," he said. "The Marlins are obviously trying to build a good program down there and getting some new players in there. To be picked by them was definitely an honor."
Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.