Projecting Austin Romine

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John Manuel was asked about Austin Romine in a recent ESPN chat, and this is what he had to say:

David (Atlanta): What kind of bat potential (power and average) does Austin Romine have?

John Manuel (3:11 PM): He should settle in as a .260-.270 hitter with 15-20 homers annually, which is pretty good for a good defensive catcher.

While those numbers seem a bit modest, Manuel is spot on when he says that is pretty strong for a good defensive catcher. I took a look at this past season’s numbers to see how many catchers passed the low end of those two thresholds (I know that batting average is not a perfect metric, but it is the one Manuel used and it is decent for weeding out those who cannot hit at all). 11 catchers hit at least 15 homers, while 13 catchers with more than 300 PA’s batted at least .260. However, just 8 passed both of those thresholds:

Joe Mauer
Victor Martinez
Jorge Posada
Brian McCann
Bengie Molina
Mike Napoli
Miguel Montero
Kurt Suzuki

Of the 8, only Mauer, Molina, Suzuki, and maybe McCann are considered above average defensively, and Molina and Suzuki both had hollow batting averages (neither walked very much: 13 for Molina, 28 for Suzuki). If Romine can come close to Manuel’s offensive projection for him and remains above average defensively, he is likely to be a top 6-7 MLB catcher and would certainly be a suitable replacement for Jorge Posada.

Photo Credit: Scott Jonte

0 thoughts on “Projecting Austin Romine

  1. These stats are a reminder of just how special Posada has been at the plate but if Romine continues to develop as a plus defender he may come close to being as valuable. However, the point that your article only touches upon (and only with regard to others) is the all-important ability to take walks. There, Posada has been a gem. Romine — not so much; at least not from what I recall. If he ends up a .260 hitter with a .310 oba, then he is not top 6-7 and maybe not even in the top half. Of course, he is young and may improve in this crtical area. If he does, then we might have a scenario where Montero is a DH that also catches 40-50 games per year with Romine serving as the primary cacther. Both salary controlled and both potentially near or at the top of the pack. The key here is whether Montero is Cabrera special with the bat. I am confident that between Sanchez, Romine and others in the system there is a top 6-7 MLB catcher.

    • I agree on the walks, and as I noted, used the criteria that Manuel used. As you said, if he doesnt walk much, he will basically be Kurt Suzuki II: probably top 10-ish, but not in the 5-7 area.

      • I think it must be the after-glow of Championship, but I am incredibly excited for this year and that includes the farm teams. I think that you asked a provacative question last year of whether fans rate our own prospects too highly as a result of following their development with such intensity. That may be true but I honestly think that our system will have a great year despite the losses. I especially feel that way about guys like Romine who got a taste of what it takes last year and now have another year of Yankee conditioning behind them. I am anxious to see what Bleich, Brackman and Manny can do this year. Someone beyond Montero is going to emerge as a stud.

    • It’s worth noting that Romine (slightly) improved his BB% from 5.7 to 6.0 this season. He needs to up that at least 3%, but at least he got even a touch better.

  2. I like Romine’s potential and I do think he’ll be a major leaguer, but I’d like to see him at least duplicate his 2009 season and hopefully even improve a bit before I get real excited.

  3. Above average MLB regular with the bat sounds about right. Add his plus receiving skills and you can live with him and be just fine.

    But I suspect he’s the type of player that the Yanks will trade eventually, as they wait for something better to come along. Maybe it’s a big FA signing, maybe he’s a bridge player for Gary Sanchez. However this plays out, I hope they have some stability at the position over the coming years. You could see Posada, Cervelli, Montero, and Romine all starting at one point and all losing the job. That’s a mess, a big FA would solve that.

  4. If Romine bats .260 with 15-20 HR’s he’ll be a star.
    Posada is a lifetime .277 hitter with about 20 HR’s and Romine who appears to be a better defensive catcher and calls a better game, has better baseball instincts and will be a much better base runner too, so they’re getting pretty close based on that projection.

    At age 19-20 Jorge actually hit less Hr’S THAN rOMINE HAS IN THOSE 2 SEASONS.

    Let’s wait and see how good Romine can be.