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Yankees Prospect No. 6: Austin Romine

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ANAHEIM CA - JULY 11:  U.S. Futures All-Star Austin Romine #4 of the New York Yankees looks on during the 2010 XM All-Star Futures Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 11 2010 in Anaheim California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM CA - JULY 11: U.S. Futures All-Star Austin Romine #4 of the New York Yankees looks on during the 2010 XM All-Star Futures Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 11 2010 in Anaheim California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Date/Location of Birth: November 22, 1988 in Lake Forest, California

Height/Weight: 6'0", 220 lbs.

Position: Catcher

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Austin Romine's name has been tossed around Pinstripe Alley multiple times, so I wouldn't be surprised if you've heard of him plenty of times already. He hails from a baseball family, as his father, Kevin Romine, played for the Red Sox and his brother Kevin currently plays for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

His short background bio is that he was drafted in the second round of the MLB Draft back in 2007 and signed with New York for $500,000. He was expected to follow his older brother to Arizona State University (Duggan!), but I don't blame him for signing that nice beefy contract with the Yankees. Romine squeezed in one game in the Gulf Coast League in 2007 in which he doubled in his first plate appearance.

Before 2010, he was ranked #86 prospect by Baseball America and he's been ranked as #96 by Baseball America for this season.

Offensively, Austin Romine is pretty much a standard hitting catcher. In 2008 with the Charleston RiverDogs, he played in 104 games and tallying a triple slash of .300/.344/.437. He shows average power, hitting between 10 and 13 homers between 2008-2010. Strangely enough, he's had exactly 122 hits over the past three seasons. In 2009, he spent the season with the Tampa Yankees and last year with AA Trenton Thunder. As he's progressed through the minor league system, he's kept up the same solid production. Having a .331 OBP for a catcher is fairly good and he doesn't strikeout at a high rate.

His major strength has got to be his arm behind the plate. From what I've read, baserunners beware of the arm. He's averaged throwing out 24% of attempted steals against him in his four years in the minors, mainly because he's not the quickest to pop up and throw down to second. He's also an above-average fielding catcher, but there is room for improvement with his footwork. His .989 fielding percentage looks pretty darned good to me.

Overall, I believe Austin Romine has what it takes to become a good major league catcher. So why is he still in Trenton? Possibly due to the backload of talent from the New York Yankees and Scranton. Jesus Montero is stuck raking the ball in Scranton seemingly waiting for one of two things to happen: A) Jorge Posada's retirement after the 2011 season or B) A colossal collapse by Russell Martin. At this point, it seems unlikely Austin Romine will be called up to AAA until Montero is moved up to the big leagues. Unfortunately for Romine, Montero looks to be the promising future star of the Yankees, barring major injury or trade.

With all of this in perspective, when will Austin Romine see the pinstripes? I'd think the absolute earliest would be next year. Who knows when Montero will be called up, but Romine needs to put together a solid year in AAA before he gets to the majors. I think it's more likely that Austin is included in a big deal for a starting pitcher before he makes it to the Bronx. If he's not traded, we'd likely see him in 2013. There are plenty of variables pending, though. Wherever he ends up, I think Romine will be a solid MLB player.

Come back Wednesday and be on the lookout for the no. 5 Yankee prospect!

Thanks to the following for information on Austin Romine - Fangraphs (Stats), Baseball-reference (Stats), River Ave Blues.