- Full name Austin Allen Romine
- Born 11/22/1988 in Lake Forest, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 216 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School El Toro
- Debut 09/11/2011
Drafted in the 2nd round (94th overall) by the New York Yankees in 2007 (signed for $500,000).
View Draft ReportRomine's brother Andrew is Arizona State's starting shortstop, and his dad Kevin played there before his brief big league career. Austin also has committed to the Sun Devils, but the consensus in Southern California is he'll never make it to Tempe. That's despite a left hand injury that has plagued him all season. In May, he reaggravated what was diagnosed as a torn ligament in his thumb and had surgery. Rather than sit out the rest of the season, he focused on being El Toro's closer. His arm is his best tool, among the most powerful in a strong draft crop of catchers. Romine's pop times to second base have ranged from 1.78 to 1.85 seconds, putting him near an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Romine's receiving is less advanced, but he's no slouch there and has the athletic ability to improve his deficient footwork. Offensively, Romine has gap power and makes consistent contact, and he's got enough strength to project to hit for average home run power down the road.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Romine became the third member of his family to reach the major leagues in 2011, joining father Kevin and brother Andrew. He also had a concussion and back issues that year, and the back problem lingered into 2012, when he played just 31 games. Clubs officials said Romine didn't work on his conditioning the way he needed last offseason, and scouts inside and outside the organization are starting to wonder if he'll reach his ceiling. Romine has tempered his high leg kick in an attempt to get more consistent with his timing at the plate. Scouts used to project him to hit 15-20 homers annually due to his raw power but didn't see the same snap in his bat in 2012. He has lost some athleticism but still rates well in that regard for a catcher. Romine has a strong arm yet threw out just 24 percent of basestealers last year, matching his career rate. His receiving has been solid in the past, though he wasn't as sharp while getting much-needed reps in the Arizona Fall League. He also hit just .222/.342/.286 in the AFL. With Russell Martin gone, Romine will compete with Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart if the Yankees choose to use an in-house replacement. Otherwise, he's headed for Triple-A.
Romine became the third member of his family to reach the majors, following dad Kevin and older brother Andrew. He debuted in front of his parents and against his brother's team, the Angels, in September. It made for a positive end to a challenging season in which he missed much of June with a concussion and two weeks in August with a back injury. In an organization full of bat-first catchers, Romine sticks out for his athletic ability and solid defensive tools. Flexible and agile, he's a sound receiver who has added polish with experience. While he has plus arm strength, he's inconsistent with his throwing accuracy and has caught just 23 percent of basestealers in each of the last two seasons. Like his arm, Romine's raw power rates as above-average but doesn't play that well in games. His high leg kick results in streaky offensive production. He has become a poor runner and seemed to play with less energy in 2011. Some scouts thought Romine got stale repeating Double-A in 2011 and will watch closely to see if he responds to a promotion to Triple-A in 2012. His defense still could make him New York's long-term future catcher, with the offensive upside of a .270 hitter with 10 homers annually.
Romine has two big leaguers in his family--father Kevin and brother Andrew, a shortstop who went 1-for-11 for the Angels in 2010--and more upside than either of them. Austin played in the Futures Game and caught a career-high 106 games (counting playoffs) last season, appearing to wear down in the second half. While Jesus Montero has more star potential with his bat, Romine is a more well-rounded player. He employs a high leg kick, and when he gets his timing right, he has solid power to the opposite field. He's still learning to pull the ball with more authority, but he should have average power to go with fringe-average hitting ability. He's a bit undisciplined at the plate. Romine has solid athleticism and runs well for a catcher. He still has some rough edges to polish up as a receiver but has good hands. He has plus arm strength but isn't consistently accurate, and threw out just 23 percent of basestealers in 2010. He needs to get stronger to handle the rigors of catching over a full season. After playing in the Arizona Fall League, Romine is headed to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2011. He may become trade bait if Montero establishes himself as Jorge Posada's successor in New York.
Romine's brother Andrew is an Angels shortstop prospect, while his father Kevin played seven seasons in the major leagues. Austin had his best pro season in 2009, winning MVP honors in the high Class A Florida State League and helping lead Tampa to the league title. A minor thumb injury forced him to leave the Arizona Fall League after just four games. Romine has the tools to be an average or plus defender behind the plate, especially with his above-average arm. He threw out 30 percent of basestealers even though the Yankees don't emphasize holding runners for their Class A pitchers. His best offensive tool is his plus raw power, and he's a good athlete and runner for a catcher. Romine must get stronger to maintain his skills, both offensive and defensive, over the course of an entire season. At times he struggles handling velocity, being a little late getting his glove to pitches on the corners. He still could add polish, and his arm strength sometimes gets him in trouble, as he led FSL catchers with 10 errors. He lacks patience at the plate and his swing tends to get long. The Yankees view him as their eventual replacement for Jorge Posada, though Romine is at least two years away from the majors. With Jesus Montero moving up to Triple-A in 2010, Romine will open the season as the everyday catcher in at Double-A.
Romine's older brother Andrew, a shortstop in the Angels system, led the Midwest League in steals in 2008, and their father Kevin played seven seasons with the Red Sox as an outfielder. Austin reported to big league camp in spring training, then missed a month with a groin injury before finishing strong in his first full pro season. He hit .359 with four of his 10 home runs in August. Romine combines athletic ability and baseball savvy with impressive raw power and improved hitting ability. He makes consistent hard contact with a simple swing he repeats regularly and projects to hit 20-25 homers annually if it all comes together. As a catcher, he has plus arm strength and made huge strides handling pitchers and calling games. Footwork issues keep Romine from receiving as efficiently as he should or from making quick transfers, and he threw out just 20 percent of basestealers in 2008 despite his arm strength. He was too deferential early in the season but learned how and when to assert himself with teammates. Jesus Montero's bat puts him on a faster track, but Romine looks like the Yankees' catcher of the future. He's expected to move to high Class A, where he'll share catching duties with Montero. Romine should be ready for New York by 2011, the final year of Jorge Posada's contract.
The sons of former big leaguer Kevin Romine were both selected on the first day of the 2007 draft. Older brother Andrew helped lead Arizona State to the 2005 and 2007 College World Series as a shortstop and went in the fifth round to the Angels. Younger brother Austin is the better prospect, whether one believes the scouting consensus in southern California or the Yankees' reports. The two accounts differ. New York signed him for $500,000 as a second-round because it believes he has significant offensive potential, with at least solid-average power to the gaps and perhaps above-average home run juice. Most scouts who saw him in showcases or in high school thought his athleticism and defensive tools were better than his bat, admitting he was raw as a receiver but gushing over his plus-plus arm strength that helped Romine occasionally serve as a high school closer. Scouts have recorded his pop times to second base as quick as 1.78 seconds. He has below-average speed but runs decently for a catcher. A ligament tear in Romine's left thumb ended his prep catching career early--he just pitched after the injury--so it was good for Romine to get back on the field in August. The Yankees sent him to their September minicamp and Dominican instructional program in November as well. The fall work should pave the way for Romine to start next season in low Class A, as he's more advanced and older than Jesus Montero, though Montero remains the better prospect.
Minor League Top Prospects
Romine repeated the league and missed time with both a concussion and a back injury. Nevertheless, he wound up becoming the third member of his family to reach the major leagues, joining father Kevin and older brother Andrew. Romine's tools remain intact despite the injuries. He has above-average arm strength, though his footwork can get awry on throws to second base and he threw out just 24 percent of EL basestealers. He has the hands, athletic ability and agility needed to be a sound receiver. Offensively, Romine remains a streaky hitter with a high leg kick and raw power. He has well below-average speed, typical for a catcher. "I'm surprised he hasn't hit for more power," the NL scout said. "You keep waiting for it, but it hasn't come out in games consistently yet. I thought he played with more of an edge last year, got after it a little more. But he's an athletic catcher with some offensive ability."
Many Yankees prospects had big years in 2010, but Romine faded after gettting off to a fast start and going to the Futures Game. Though he hit .253/.305/.363 in the second half, he still has four average or better tools and the chance to succeed Jorge Posada as the Yankees' catcher. Romine's strong arm remains his best tool. His accuracy can be spotty, however, and he threw out just 23 percent of EL basestealers. He still has some trouble handling good velocity but is adept at blocking balls and profiles as a solid defender. Romine's swing gets long and he's not selective to fully tap into his plus raw power, but scouts project him as an average home run hitter. While he hasn't learned to pull the ball consistently with authority, he does use the whole field. Like most catchers, he lacks speed.
Montero wowed people with his massive power. Romine's strength was his steadiness. Romine doesn't have any single tool that stands out like Montero's raw power, but there also are very few weaknesses to his game. He shows average power with the ability to pull the ball for power as well as drive it the other way (five of his 13 homers traveled to right field). Behind the plate, Romine calls a good game, moves well and has a strong arm. He improved his footwork in 2009, allowing him to throw out 30 percent of basestealers, though he still needs to get better at receiving and blocking balls in the dirt.
He battled a groin injury early in the year and split time behind the plate with Montero, but once Romine settled in and got healthy, he emerged as the SAL's most promising defensive catcher. He also hit .359 with four of his 10 homers in August. "He came the farthest of any player we had this year," Charleston manager Torre Tyson said. "He was overshadowed by Montero somewhat, but he really grew over the course of the season. You could see everything starting to click for him. He's got a chance to be an excellent defensive catcher with a chance to hit for power." Romine made significant strides with his footwork and his ability to call games and work with pitchers. He showed a plus arm and had pop times under 1.8 seconds, yet erased only 20 percent of basestealers. Offensively, he makes consistent contact and should have at least gap power.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the New York Yankees in 2013
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the New York Yankees in 2012
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the New York Yankees in 2011
Background: Romine became the third member of his family to reach the majors, following dad Kevin and older brother Andrew. He debuted in front of his parents and against his brother's team, the Angels, in September. It was a positive end to a challenging season in which he missed time with a June concussion and an August back injury. Scouting Report: In an organization full of bat-first catchers, Romine sticks out for his athletic ability and solid defensive tools. Flexible and agile, he's a sound receiver who has added polish with experience. While he has plus arm strength, his inconsistent throwing accuracy led to him nabbing just 23 percent of basestealers in each of the last two seasons. Like his arm, Romine's raw power rates as above-average but doesn't play that well in games. His high leg kick results in streaky offensive production. He has become a poor runner and seemed to play with less energy in 2011. The Future: Some scouts thought Romine got stale repeating a level in 2011 and will watch to see if he responds to a promotion in 2012. His defense still could make him New York's long-term future catcher, with the offensive upside of a .270 hitter with 10-15 homers.