Mid-Season Report Card: Austin Romine
Coming into the season, the Yankees and their fans pretty much knew what they were going to get from Austin Romine. However, Romine had to play a little bigger role on the 2017 Yankees than in previous seasons. A pretty steady backup catcher since 2013, Romine had to fill some big shoes early on when Gary Sanchez went down in Baltimore with a bicep injury. He's shown that he could actually be more valuable to a team as a starting catcher, and filled Gary's role much better than expected. Romine has also seen some time at first base, a position the Yankees have struggled with all season, and has done better than expected there as well. The only thing keeping him out of the lineup every day is his bat.
Photo Credit: Rich Schultz/Getty Images
If report cards were monthly, Austin Romine would have had a very solid "A" for the month of April. Filling in as the starting catcher while Sanchez was hurt, Romine looked like an above average Major League starting catcher. He batted .314 in April with two homers and 10 RBI. Since then, and since Gary has retaken the starting spot off the DL, Romine is hitting just .200 with no homers and just seven RBIs. Austin Romine is the epitome of a backup catcher. He's played very well at Yankee Stadium so far this season, hitting .317 at home with 13 RBIs compared to just .179 with four RBIs on the road with 15 more at bats.
Expectations for Second Half:
You can expect to see a lot of the same from Austin Romine if you're a Yankees fan. I say that because there is no promise that Romine will remain in pinstripes after the All-Star break. Romine has become the talk of a couple of trades, mostly because of his ability to handle the job behind the dish as a starter. Even though it was a small sample size, it's drawn interest from a couple of teams. The crosstown rival New York Mets have expressed interest in Romine, and the Yanks have obviously reached out to the Mets inquiring about first baseman Lucas Duda. If a Duda deal were to get done, you could expect to see Romine as part of that deal. For the Mets, he could find himself as an everyday player. For the Yankees, he'll continue his role as a backup to Gary Sanchez, and may actually see less playing time if the Yankees were to get a first baseman and not include Romine in the trade.
Austin Romine is a very reliable backup catcher for the Yankees, and seems like he knows his role and plays it well. I don't see him playing a ton of first base in the second half because I expect the Yanks to go out and trade for a starter. Whether Romine will be a Yankee for much longer is to be seen, but if he will be, I wouldn't be opposed to it. Romine provides Sanchez a day off here and there and prevents the Yankees and their fans from enduring games started by Travis Higashioka, who was called up when Romine spent a short amount of time on the DL after fouling a ball off his knee earlier in the season.
Article by: Noah Clement