Here’s the second part of the answers to the questions that you, the fans and readers of Thunder Thoughts, submitted to Trenton catcher and Yankees prospect Austin Romine…
Question: From watching you play, I see you have above average speed for a catcher. Do you plan to use that speed to steal more bases?
Romine: “I do. I actually take a lot of pride in that. I think I had 11 or 12 in Tampa last year, and any time a catcher gets in double digits, that’s not a bad thing. I definitely do not want to be labeled as a slow catcher, that’s why I’m trying to show that I can steal and I can beat out double plays. So I take a lot of pride in that, and I will be trying to steal a lot more bags this year.”
Question: Between High-A and Double-A, what are the differences that you have noticed both behind the plate and with the bat?
Romine: “More consistency. Pitchers have a better idea, pitches move more. It’s not so erratic, where a lot of guys are just throwing hard. Now you’ve got guys that know how to pitch and they’re here for a reason. You have to lock in more and don’t let them get you out.”
Question: “I know a few guys named Austin, and both are nicknamed Auggie…have you ever been called that…and I guess a question I can pull out of that is: Do you have a nickname?
Romine: “I don’t. A lot of people call me “Ro,” but that’s not really a nickname. I’ve never heard Auggie before.”
Question: I’d like to know if Austin feels any extra pressure to live up to the public perception that he is in line to be the next full-time catcher for the Yankees…
Romine: “I get that question every once in a while. There’s no pressure. If I don’t perform, then none of that is going to happen. I just have to take things day by day, and wherever they put me, perform. I don’t really feel any pressure with that.”
Question: Did Austin feel any pressure at home to become a professional player? Was his dad pushing him towards this or did he always want to follow in his dad’s footsteps on his own?
Romine: “My dad never, ever pushed me. It was a big influence in my life growing up, it’s always something I’ve loved and always something I’ve wanted to do. He’s never pushed me to do something I didn’t want to do.”
Question: Are there any teammates you’ve gotten close to in the past several years or former teammates that you’ve kept in contact with?
Romine: “I’m friends with all the guys. We’re all really close. We have a pretty good core group here and we all have fun and stay loose. If you just come to a game, you can see we stay loose. They’re all really good guys.”
Question: Would you be upset if you were traded out of the Yankees organization some day?
Romine: “In a sense, yeah. They were there from the beginning, they gave me a shot at professional baseball. They’ve given me all the tools I’ve needed to succeed. I’d like nothing more than to make it with the Yankees.”
Question: Defensively, a lot of people think you’re ready. Who were some of the catchers you’ve watched to aid your development growing up?
Romine: “I watched Ivan Rodriguez a lot. Tony Pena, actually. He and my dad were pretty close. I remember watching him a lot when I was younger. I watched all of them, though. Any time I got a chance to pick up something from a professional catcher, I was going to do that. If I could apply something to my game to make me better, I wanted to do that.”
Follow-Up: “Have you had the chance to speak with Pena, now that he’s a coach for the Yankees?
Romine: “Oh yeah. Every time I go there, I do. The first time I saw him, he goes, ‘The last time I saw you, you were a little baby and now you’re playing.’ We have a good relationship. He’s a hard worker, and he makes you ready to work. He makes you work. I’ve got nothing but respect for him, and I’m sure he respects me. I love that guy, he’s a good guy.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com