After not pitching in 2020 after being selected in the 2nd round of the draft out of Texas A&M because the season was cancelled, Christian Roa made his professional debut on opening day in Low-A Daytona. Things could have gone better. In the first inning he allowed a solo home run and a single, but struck out the other three batters he faced. That, however, was the last inning he would throw for two months.
Injury kept him off of the mound for a while, but he returned on July 1st and made two rehab starts with the Arizona Complex League Reds, allowing just one hit in 6.1 innings before he returned to Daytona. Once he was back he didn’t stick around long. He would make four starts for the Tortugas over the next three weeks before being promoted to High-A Dayton despite a hiccup in his final game in the Low-A Southeast (3.2 innings, 5 walks, 2 strikeouts, 2 earned runs).
The first start with Dayton went all as Christian Roa allowed one run over 6.0 innings and struck out eight batters against Lansing. But the next three starts didn’t go well as the righty struggled and allowed 12 earned runs with six walks in just 10.2 innings. Roa was able to turn things around in the final month, though. In his final four starts with Dayton in September he allowed just three runs in 18.0 innings.
For all 2021 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Christian Roa Scouting Report
Position: Right-handed pitcher | B/T: R/R
Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 220 lbs | Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020
Born: April 2, 1999
Fastball | When it’s at it’s best, he can sit 95-97, but there were times in the season that he was in the 92-94 MPH range.
Slider | An above-average offering that works in the low-80’s.
Curveball | An average to above-average pitch that works in the mid-to-upper 70’s.
Change Up | An above-average pitch with good fading action.
With four average or better pitches, Christian Roa has the arsenal to be a big league starting pitcher. What he hasn’t shown yet, in college or in the professional ranks, is show that he can handle the starters workload. He relieved as a freshman at Texas A&M, and then as a sophomore he split duties between the bullpen and rotation as he threw 48.0 innings. In 2020 he started in all of his appearances, but with the season being cancelled, that wound up being just four starts and 20.0 innings. In 2021 he only put 58.2 innings on the books after missing two months with an injury.
After the 2020 season being cancelled, and then not being able to throw on his own for part of the year and missing instructional league due to a sports hernia, the 2021 campaign was one that Roa was in an even more weird spot than most guys because of how his prior year had played out. He’s going to need to show a little more consistency moving forward, and an ability to pitch deeper into games, too. Cincinnati kept his pitch counts low – he never threw more than 90 pitches in a game and only topped 85 pitches three times in 15 starts.
In shorter stints while pitching in spring training he was throwing in the mid-90’s and routinely touching 97, but when the season began his velocity was a little bit lower than that. If he eventually does need to move to the bullpen the extra velo has shown itself to be in there.
Interesting Stat on Christian Roa
This season hitters went 2-27 with 3 walks against him during the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings. That’s good for a line of .074/.167/.074.
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