Sunday, January 8, 2012

Road to Yankee Stadium Top 10: #5 Austin Romine

Austin Romine, C, AA/AAA

This past season was a very interesting one for Austin Romine.  He was stuck in the system behind Jesus Montero, which was the main reason he spend almost the entire season at AA.  In Trenton (AA) he hit .286 with 6 HRs, 13 doubles, 43 runs,  and 47 RBIs in 85 games.  While at AA he was selected to the mid-season All-Star team and for the second year in a row played in the Future Game during MLB All-Star weekend.  Then at the end of the season when Montero was called up to the majors, Romine got his chance at Scranton/Wilkes Barre (AAA).  However, he only played there for four games, hitting .133 with a run and a RBI.  Then when the New York Yankees needed another catcher he got called up to the majors at the end of the season.  He played nine games at the big league level and hit .158 with 2 runs.

Since being drafted in the second round in 2007 his career has been continually overshadowed by Jesus Montero.  Although he has made his way through the minors.  From the GCL in 2007; to the Charleston RiverDogs (LoA) in 2008; to the Tampa Yankees (HiA) in 2009; and then the past two season mostly at Trenton (AA).  The biggest knock on Romine is his offense.  He is the anti-Montero.  Where Montero has the major league ready bat with the question marks about his defensive skills, Romine has the major league ready defense but question marks about his bat.  His highest batting average in the minors was back in 2008 in Charleston where he hit .300.  Since then he has not been able to duplicate that. He has not has a season with over a .280 batting average since them.  As he has made it to high levels his hitting stats have not been great.  That is the biggest thing Romine will have to work on if he wants to be a long tenured major leaguer.

Going forward Romine will most likely spend most of next season at Scranton/Wilkes Barre (AAA).  With Montero almost definitely starting the season in the majors, it finally opens up the AAA catching position.  I see Cashman keeping Romine in the minors for most if not all of  next season so that he can get as many starts as possible, instead of being a backup in the majors.  However, he will most likely get another late season call-up and will hopefully have more success at the plate.  However, still being stuck behind Montero, going forward he will either most likely be a backup catcher or the starter if Montero is moved to full time DH.  As Shaeffer Hall said in his interview he feels that Romine has a ton of major league potential going forward.  Hopefully he will be a big part of the Yankees catching positing by the start of the 2013 season.     

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