With Maicer Izturis gone, the Angels are on the hunt for his heir apparent and Andrew Romine should get the first shot at filling his metaphorically large but physically small shoes. But is he up to the task?
2012 Stats: 21 PA, .412 AVG, .500 OBP, .412 SLG, 2 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 0 CS, 32 K, .413 wOBA, 165 OPS+, 0.2 fWAR
2013 ZiPS Projections: 494 PA, .232 AVG, .288 OBP, .295 SLG, 48 R, 3 HR, 31 RBI, 17 SB, 8 CS, 95 K, .260 wOBA, 65 OPS+, -0.1 fWAR
2013 Bill James Projections: not available because, really, who cares about Andrew Romine
2013 CAIRO Projections: 485 PA, .231 AVG, .292 OBP, .294 SLG, 57 R, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 19 SB, 10 CS, 91 K, .267 wOBA
2013 MWAH Projections*: 200 PA, .210 AVG, .290 OBP, .290 SLG, 20 R, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 8 SB, 3 CS, 29 K, .267 wOBA
*The MWAH projections are simply my best guess based off my own personal opinion and research (my wOBA calculation is approximate)
2012 in Objective Review:
Romine spent only a few short stretches of the season on the Angels active roster in 2012. Much of that time consisted of him sitting quietly on the bench seldom ever playing. This is how he managed to only accumulate 21 plate appearances and appear in just 12 games overall. Given the small sample size involved, there is no real point in examining his MLB numbers.
Romine's much more extensive numbers in the minors in 2012 are only slightly more interesting. He posted more or less the same line as he did his previous year at Salt Lake. That's actually not a good thing because Romine abandoned switch-hitting last season and did not seem to gain anything from doing so. In fact, Andrew's walk rate nearly halved itself as a result, though his strikeout rate did the same. At best, it can be said that Romine proved that he can hit just barely well enough at Salt Lake to stay in the organization's good graces.
2012 in Revisionist History:
Romine's season was really just that of an insurance policy. He is pretty much a finished product at this point, so his time in the minors in 2012 was really just a way to keep him busy in between stints on the big league roster in which he would be seldom used. To his credit, he did try improve by strictly converting to a left-handed hitter, though it didn't seem to help much. If anything it hurt. The aforementioned plummet in walk rate is a real killer seeing how Romine's ability to work a walk was probably the only part of his hitting profile that could be considered average or maybe even slightly above average. The decline in strikeout rate is nice, but ultimately unnecessary since putting the ball in play isn't exactly something that has resulted in desirable results for Andrew in his career.
Three Lingering Questions for 2013:
1) Does Romine actually have a bench spot locked up?
He is easily the best defensive infielder competing for a spot and arguably the only real viable shortstop amongst the bunch, which should give him an edge. Being a left-hander should help too, but that will be largely mitigated by that fact that he can't really hit. Beyond that, the Angels might lean towards him merely because of their familiarity with what he can do. That should all add up to him winning a spot on the Opening Day roster so long as two of the veterans in camp don't play so well that they force the Angels' hand.
2) Assuming he wins a bench spot, how screwed are the Angels if Romine is forced into a starting job via injury?
Pretty screwed because, as I am going to keep mentioning, Romine can't hit. Now, the Angels have a strong lineup, so they can afford to have one poor hitter in the lineup, but it would be better if they didn't. One would imagine that if Aybar or Kendrick were lost to a significant injury that the Halos would be forced to turn to the trade market to find a fill-in rather than relying on Romine to hold down the fort even if his glove is up to the job.
3) How much playing time would Romine really be in line for?
As you can see above, I had him pegged for 200 plate appearances, but that was before the Halos brought in Brendan Harris and Bill Hall as guys who could serve as more offensive-minded counterparts to Romine on the roster. His glove is a great tool, but the Angels have a strong defensive infield, so it isn't like he will be brought in as a late-inning defensive replacement. He'll get some spot starts throughout the season, but he might get into the most games strictly as a pinch-runner.
Three Irrelevant Questions for 2013:
1) Is he even the best Romine in the league right now?
As you may know, his brother Austin plays catcher in the Yankees organization. As you may also know, the Yankees have a veritable black hole of talent behind the plate right now, yet Romine is on the outside looking in at the Opening Day roster even though he is an actual prospect with actual talent.
2) How annoyed am I going to be if Romine doesn't make the team?
Extremely, but not because of a fondness for Romine, but rather that I spent time and energy projecting a player that is going to spend most of the year in the minors. Seriously, these profiles are a bit of a chore and I am going to be so pissed if this one goes to waste.
3) Is coming up with six total questions about Romine too much?
Much, much too much.
2013 in Subjective Projection:
Romine is in line to take over the role previously occupied by Maicer Izturis, or at least most of it as he will probably have to share with a veteran like Bill Hall or Brendan Harris. Also, given the drop off in talent from Izturis, one would have to imagine that Scioscia will be less willing to sit Aybar, Kendrick and Callaspo. Still, he should see a lot more at-bats than he did in 2013.
It is kind of silly to measure his contributions in at-bats though since his bat is the aspect of his game that is least desirable. Romine has a great glove, which is why he will even make the team. That is what will earn him his spot starts. What will earn him additional appearances is Romine's quality speed. With the way the current roster is shaping up, the Angels have nobody who can serve as a decent pinch-runner other than Romine. Being able to use Romine in that fashion is a bonus he brings to the table over the rest of the competition but it is also a reason why the Angels would want to carry two back-up infielders so that they aren't without a viable reserve if they need an injury replacement after Romine is used as a pinch-runner.
Even if he somehow doesn't get picked to start the season on the roster, Romine figures to be one of the first guys to get a phone and promotion when injury strikes big league club.