In Saturday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, announcers Paul O’Neil and Michael Kay were reflecting on one Austin Romine, the New York Yankees’ current backup catcher and future starter. O’Neil played at the same time as Austin’s father Kevin Romine, and he was having a hard time remembering to call the 24 year old “Austin” and not “Kevin.” I don’t think this kind of confusion will last long. It seems clear that Austin Romine will be even better than his father was.
Though Romine’s bat hasn’t been incredibly impressive thus far (he has a sub-Mendozian .182 average), I think he’s shown enough promise to justify his spot on the team. He had a beautiful liner up the middle in Saturday’s game, and I think it is important to keep in mind that he hasn’t been getting regular at-bats thus far in the season. He’s only had 41 Major League at-bats in total, and he’ll need a few more before he gets accustomed to big league pitching.
I’m really excited about Romine’s talent behind the plate. If you take a close look at the numbers, you’ll see that he has done a very good job with the pitching staff. In Romine’s six starts this season, Yankees pitchers have averaged just two earned runs per start, and the team is 5-1. Yes, that one loss was a 9-1 drubbing by the lowly Houston Astros in which Romine never got on the same page with starter Andy Pettitte, but keep in mind that it was his first start at catcher this season.
When Russell Martin left in free agency, I was hoping that the Yankees would find a replacement quickly. With Romine, I think they have that replacement.