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.