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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:
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