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.

Christian Roa 2021 stats

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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14 Responses

    • Doug Gray

      Average control. Would prefer to see him a little more before feeling comfortable dropping a command grade in there.

  1. DaveCT

    The repertoire suggests starting but with 48 innings in school followed by a lost year in 20 then just 58 innings in 21 is concerning. Recognizing 21 aa a long, strange year, with a ton of injuries as guys tried to come back, I’m open to suggestion whether Roa can ramp up to starter innings. Lodolo, too, to some degree (67 pro innings total) though he’s handled a starter’s workload previously. But I’d not be surprised if this wave of Roa, Bonnin, Ashcraft, etc all end up in the pen.

    • Doug Gray

      I’m less concerned with Ashcraft because he’s thrown full seasons in the past without issue. He threw 109 in 2019 between college and pro ball. Then this year he threw 111, but it was more than that, too, because he was an “early camp” guy who was throwing in February and March (and April when everyone else was also starting to throw).

    • MBS

      We are going to need arms in the pen to, let the cream of the crop reach the rotation. The good news is we seem to have some arms coming up!

      • DaveCT

        Similar to the Mahle/Garrett/Romano wave would be an OK floor. But given these are college guys vs. high school kids, let’s hope they’re more advanced.

  2. AC

    I get some Lorenzenish vibes here. Obviously not the same kind of athlete, but a big arm that can serve as a swing guy in the rotation or bullpen.

  3. AMDG

    Hopefully Roa is one of those guys who has stuff that is better than his production, and just needs to put it together.

    Because, just looking at his stats in college, summer ball, and the minors, he’s done little to get excited about.

  4. RedsGettingBetter

    Does Roa have similar stuff and upside of Homer Bailey when he was a prospect?

    • Doug Gray

      The game was very different then. Homer Bailey was a starter that threw 92-96 MPH and that made him a rare prospect. Today doing that doesn’t separate you from anyone. Bailey, at one point, was one of the 2-3 best pitching prospects in baseball. He was rated better/higher than Hunter Greene has ever been rated (as a pro).

      Bailey wound up going through a lot of transformations in his development. When he was drafted he was fastball/curveball/change up. By the time he became an above-average big leaguer he was fastball/slider/splitter.

      It’s a tough question to answer. If you put Roa into a time machine and threw him into 2007, he’d be an elite-level arm. But the game has changed a lot since then, too. Even by today’s standards, he’s got a good arm that sticks out a little, but it doesn’t stick out like Bailey’s did when he was atop of the prospect food chain in 2007.

      • RedsGettingBetter

        Everything really has changed in baseball since 2007 so understanding that you say then if you put Bailey into that time machine and send him to present day as prospect he would had been an average one as much… Roa has better upside than Bailey technically but in different contexts

      • Doug Gray

        That’s the thing, though, I don’t think he does have better upside. Because everyone else is also better. Bailey’s upside was an ace at the time. Roa’s upside is not an ace today.

  5. Matt

    Hopefully we see the same path we saw Ashcraft this past season. Start in A+ and show improved command (better than the current 4.5 bb/9). After a couple good months, finish the year in AA.