In 2022 Christian Roa spent much of his season in High-A Dayton where he made 17 starts with a 4.14 ERA. But late in the season he moved up to Double-A Chattanooga and allowed two runs in 17.0 innings over three starts to end his season, giving him 20 starts between the two levels and a 3.56 ERA.

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After a few starts in Double-A to end the previous year, the Cincinnati Reds sent Christian Roa back to join the Lookouts rotation to begin 2023. The season did not get out to the start he’d like – he didn’t get out of the 1st inning in his season debut. While the next three starts went better, they didn’t go all that well as he allowed 11 earned runs in 11.2 innings. That ended April and he had an ERA of 11.68 with more walks – 15 – than innings pitched – 12.1.

May kicked off with a strong outing where he allowed one hit in 5.0 shutout innings that saw him strike out 10 batters – though he did walk five batters in the game. He kept that going over his next two starts as he allowed just three hits in 10.0 inning without an earned run. But the next three starts were a bit of a struggle as he allowed 14 runs in 14.2 innings. Roa got things going in the right direction again on June 10th against Birmingham and carried that forward over the next two weeks as he allowed just two runs in 17.0 innings.

The Reds took that opportunity to promote the righty up to Triple-A on June 29th. His first outing with Louisville was a rough one. Transitioning from a pre-tacked baseball that was being experimented with in the Double-A Southern League in the first half of the season may have been a part of the issue, but Indianapolis touched him up for eight runs on nine hits – including three home runs – while he struck out just one batter in 2.2 innings.

Over the next month he continued to battle consistency, giving up 14 earned runs in five starts that covered 19.0 innings while he walked 14 batters to go along with 22 strikeouts. Things turned back around on August 6th when Roa allowed a run in 5.0 innings against Omaha – but he walked five batters on that day. Over his next three outings he allowed four runs in 11.0 innings and walked eight more batters, but also struck out 15. He continued to battle consistency as he allowed eight runs in 13.0 innings with 11 walks and 19 strikeouts in the three starts that followed that.

On September 15th he struck out a career high 12 batters in 5.0 shutout innings against Durham. He would end his season with a 5.2 inning outing against Iowa where he struck out eight and allowed two earned runs.

For all 2023 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 | Acquired: 2nd Round (2020 Draft)

Born: April 2, 1999

Fastball | A pitch that works in the mid-90’s and tops out at 98 MPH.

Slider | An above-average pitch that works in the mid-80’s.

Change Up | A below-average offering that works in the low-to-mid 80’s.

Curve | A below-average offering that works in the upper 70’s to low 80’s.

Christian Roa has enough stuff to be a starting pitcher. His fastball has some velocity, though it’s a lower spin-rate pitch that doesn’t quite plate to it’s velocity. The slider’s a strong offering that is his best pitch. The change up and curveball are below-average, but are enough to usually keep a hitter honest enough. But his control is a big issue and it’s far more likely to keep him from being a starter than his stuff will.

When he’s at his best he’s able to use his fastball and slider combo to put hitters away, but even when he’s “on” he struggles with consistency in throwing strikes. As a starter that really can get him into trouble. While he’s been used as a starter since being drafted, a move to the bullpen may help mitigate that issue some – but if he’s going to be more than a middle of the bullpen type he will need to find a way to throw strikes a bit more often.

In the end, it’s going to come down to throwing more strikes. If Roa can do it he can probably forge a career in the big leagues – whether that’s in the rotation or the bullpen may depend on how much his control improves. But if he can’t he’ll probably get a cup of coffee and maybe be a guy who moves back-and-forth between Triple-A and the big leagues.


Interesting Stat on Christian Roa

With runners in scoring position he held batters to .183 average.

20 Responses

  1. SultanofSwaff

    Would like to see him transition to a relief role. To me the mechanics just aren’t repeatable enough to start…..and he’s almost 25…..and there are multiple starting options ahead of him.

    • DaveCT

      I’ve believed Roa has is destined for the bullpen pretty much since drafted. Just too inconsistent. And 5.7 walks per 9 innings for his career don’t help.

  2. Doc

    I hope the Reds remember Joe Boyle. Also walked too many, fans said. His 2023 MLB stats look pretty good. And then there is Randy Johnson. Walked too many. Never would make it to the majors. His HOF bust should contain a middle finger. And he did it all starting in his late 20s.

    • DaveCT

      Boyle’s history is to have short runs where he was very effective, such as his three games and 15 innings in the ML’s, then revert to having significant control problems. His career pro walk rate is 7.2 BB’s per 9 IP over 55 starts and 237 innings. If it’s not the hapless Oakland A’s, I’ve not sure Boyle sees the ML’s last year at all.

      No one is trying to just stick it to Roa or Boyle and elicit getting the middle finger. If you take the time watch them, in this case Roa, it’s that they aren’t very effective starters. And while we’re also talking anecdotally, I don’t know how many batters facing Roa I saw diving out of the way.

      As a 2nd round pick, getting a middle reliever out of Roa would be really good value. His fastball/slider combo with below average other pitches fits the reliever bill, unless he can walk a lot fewer guys.

    • BK

      Randy Johnson is the exception, not the rule. I hope Boyles does great, but the odds are against him and his short bout of success doesn’t seem to change the odds very much.

      P.S. I think the FO is thrilled with the Moll for Boyles trade. I know I am.

    • Steve

      There are always going to be outliers, but just because a few of those guys exist does not mean that it is a smart strategy to chase those type of players.

      • The Duke

        Yep, for every Randy Johnson, there are a 1000 guys who flame out and never make it.

    • Old Big Ed

      I like to use Randy Johnson and Jacob deGrom to caution against expecting too much too soon out of Hunter Greene. Johnson, FWIW, made the All-Star team at age 26, so it is a bit of a stretch to say “he did it all starting in his late 20s.” The general point of Johnson’s being late bloomer is accurate, but his height was a big issue. It takes time to corral all the long levers that come with being 6’10” and sporting a mullet.

      I think that Roa needs to slow down his delivery a bit, with a more discernible collection point, to give himself a more repeatable delivery. I saw Walker Buehler live at all levels, including Little League, and he always had a fast windup and delivery. (Kinda like a golfer with a quick backswing.) The Dodgers slowed him down, and he is #1 material when healthy.

  3. Randy in Chatt

    From Doug:

    “Interesting Stat on Christian Roa
    With runners in scoring position he held batters to .183 average.”

    Me thinks bullpen as well.

    • Old Big Ed

      Maybe, but I think they need to give him every chance to be a starter.

      Roa struck out 170 guys in 120 IP last season (SO9 of 12.7), which is up from 10.3 in 2021 and 10.1 in 2022 at lower levels. His BB9 has risen over the past 3 seasons from 4.0 to 5.4 to 6.8 last season. This all indicates that he is throwing harder and/or getting more spin, but may be sacrificing control/command to do so. He probably just needs to trust his stuff more.

      He also needs a better third pitch to be a good starter, but he’s got time to learn one.

      • DaveCT

        You know, Ed, I think that’s a really good observation. I’ve seen Roa several times on TV the last couple of seasons, and I just haven’t been able to put my finger on it more specifically as to why he isn’t effective. What I do see is the catcher setting up in one place and the pitch going to another, too often. So Roa having a helter skelter pitching motion may be on the money. I’m also wondering if he’s just not that athletic, where his motion is just what he does naturally and not necessarily intentionally or by design.

  4. MK

    Does anyone know if the early bird camp for those returning from injuries and a few prospects has started yet?

    • Doug Gray

      I know that they have already had their “performance camp” where they had some guys come in. That ended before the Caravan began. There are also some guys out in Arizona now – but I also don’t know if they are just showing up early or if there’s a camp of sorts going on now. Some guys I’ve seen that are out there are rehabbing guys, but some aren’t.

      • MK

        Maybe the Performance Camp is what I’m thinking of, I just remember there were some young guys who have something early and then get the opportunity to play in some early big league spring games because the have had extra time to get ready

      • Doug Gray

        OK, that is not the performance camp.

        There is an early camp of sorts for what you’re talking about, but it’s usually for guys looking at AA/AAA. There are some younger guys that are out there, too – but by and large the group you’re talking about is there early for the purpose of helping out the big league camp guys if and when they need it since the actual minor league camp doesn’t usually start until about a week after the big league spring games begin.

      • DaveCT

        MK I think they’ve used different names for the early camp for minor leaguers. Seems like it’s a good program.

  5. AMDG

    “Christian Road spent much of his season in High-A Dayton”

    Um, there is no Christian Road in Dayton.

    There is a Christian Way in nearby Kettering, Ohio. Perhaps that is the street you are looking for? :)