In Baseball America's most recent ranking of the top 200 draft prospects for 2017, left-hander Seth Romero checked in at No. 18. In other words, Romero is a first-round talent, and first-round talents get nine-figure signing bonuses. Now, though, Romero's stock might be slipping after he was dismissed from the University of Houston program.
Here's part of the statement from Cougars baseball coach Todd Whitting:
"I appreciate (athletic director) Hunter Yurachek's support of my decision for our program to move forward without Seth. We wish Seth and his family the best of luck as he embarks on the next phase of his life and baseball career. We are fully focused on our remaining schedule and current members of our program."
This isn't the first time Romero has been in trouble at Houston. Romero was suspended as a sophomore for conduct detrimental to the team, and he was also suspended in early April for violating university policy. That suspension was lifted May 1. Via Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle, some details on what led to that disciplinary action:
One especially embarrassing incident occurred early in the season when Romero was captured in a photograph holding a bong while in full uniform. A source said the photo, obtained by the Chronicle, was taken sometime during the Cougars' March 24-26 series at UC Irvine. Romero was shagging balls before one of the games and went behind the outfield wall to retrieve a ball. Once there, Romero bumped into "a few kids," who asked the UH pitcher to pose for a photo, the source said.
Romero has insisted to UH officials that he did not smoke from the bong. Whether from there or elsewhere, marijuana was found in his system during a subsequent drug test.
Duarte elsewhere reports that, according to sources, a fight with a teammate led to Romero's ouster.
Romero pitched to a 3.51 ERA in 10 appearances this season. Over that brief span, he struck out an impressive number of batters, and his fastball and slider remain first-round quality. Character concerns, however, will likely cost Romero a lot of money when his name is eventually called next month.