That is Chris StewartĎs spray chart since the All-Star break (via Texas Leaguers). You know how they set up those short little outfield fences behind the infield for charity softball games or whatever? I think Stewart would have hit like two homeruns since the break using those fences. According to the batted ball data at FanGraphs, he hasnít hit a fly ball since August 3rd (!).
This isnít much of a surprise, of course. Stewart has never hit in his career and no one expected him to this year, yet heís still somehow falling short of expectations at .219/.296/.279 (60 wRC+). Among the 33 catchers with at least 200 plate appearances this year, Stewart ranks 30th in offensive output. As an added bonus, heís stopped throwing out base-runners ó opponents are 13-for-15 (87%) in stolen base attempts against him since the All-Star break. Heís worn out. It happens when a guy who hasnít started more than 85 games behind the plate since 2005 catches 70 of your first 117 games.
Austin Romine, meanwhile, has shown some signs of life since the All-Star break after being completely unplayable in the first half. Heís gone 8-for-23 (.348) with some power (three doubles and a homer) since the break and thatís kinda cool. Romine also had a few nice games at the plate immediately prior to the Midsummer Classic and has actually thrown runners out of late ó four steals and four caught stealings since the break. Itís not much, but when youíre talking about a 24-year-old kid who missed basically half of each of the last two seasons with back problems, itís encouraging. A silver lining in these rough last few weeks.
ďHeís been swinging the bat pretty good,Ē said Joe Girardi to Mark Feinsand last week when asked about upping Romineís workload down the stretch. ďI might give him a little bit more playing time here and there. Stewís still going to catch a lot, but heís been swinging the bat pretty good.Ē
To Girardiís credit, Romine has started seven of the teamís last 17 games. But thatís not really enough. Stewart is generally bad at this baseball thing and now heís even worse at it because heís out of gas. Romine should play more and not just two or three times a week. He should take over as the starter ó three-fifths of the rotation has pitched so poorly that they donít even deserve the luxury of a personal catcher, so thatís not an issue ó and thatís it. See what happens. He wonít continue to hit .348 the rest of the way, but he can actually hit the ball in the air and still play pretty good defense.
Thereís a pretty good chance Romine might stink at baseball too. Baseball is hard, especially as a young catcher. It took Yadier Molina three years to get his OPS over .700 and seven years to get it over .750, for example. But thereís also a chance Romine might not stink at baseball. It was just last year that Baseball America said his ďdefense still could make him New Yorkís long-term future catcher, with the offensive upside of a .270 hitter with 10 homers annually.Ē Thatís pretty good by catcher standards. Certainly better than Stewart, who we know isnít anything special because heís 31 and hasnít been anything special his entire career.
The Yankees are stuck in the unenviable spot of having way too many old players and way too few young players. Their long-term catching outlook is promising with J.R. Murphy in Triple-A and Gary Sanchez in Double-A, but prospects are no sure thing, especially catching prospects. Look at Matt Wieters. Romine has shown actual signs of life at the Major League level these last few weeks and thatís an amazing thing. The Yankees should be thankful for it and they should give him every opportunity to show it isnít a fluke. As crazy as it sounds, they might even have a long-term building block sitting right under their noses, which is something they desperately need regardless of position.
I like Chris Stewart, but he's a back up catcher. Not a 5-6 game a week catcher. I think Romine has earned the opportunity to start over Stewart. Not sure if it's a pitchers prefer to pitch to Stewart or what, but clearly he is out of gas. As stated in the Article. I have been hoping and wishing Romine would get more playing time. Well I think the time has past and Joe G needs to get his head out of his *** and do it already.
Stewart was not half bad until he decided to fall off the face of the planet in the 2nd week of July.
I kind of agree with a part of the article, I looked it up..he hasn't played more then 85 games since he was 23 in Double-A(baseball-reference). I just think he's getting worn down. He's a decent back-up. But that's it. He's played more games this season(80)..then he did the entire season in 2012(55), 2011(67). I don't dislike him, but I think he shouldn't be the starter. Give Romine more playing time, see what you got..so we know more for next year, need to see if he can produce during the season. Maybe give them a clearer picture for next year.
I won't argue that Steward is not Johnny Bench with a bat in his hands, but behind the dish he is very good and does well with the pitching staff.
Romine has not proven to be able to do either yet. The only thing he has proven and earned, is his paycheck by being the good little soldier and sit on the bench when asked and play his best when asked.
Catcher cannot be treated like the rest of the non-pitching positions. A good hitting catcher can cost you more games if they are poor behind the plate, than a poor hitting catcher who does a top job behind the dish. There is a reason that for many decades (before PEDs), that 80% of the leagues catchers were not really good hitters. Oh, there are quite a few out there, but let's face it.. at the end of Jorge Posada's & Mike Piazza's careers, they became liabilities behind the plate to the point that they were getting moved to 1st and DH for much lesser hitters.
So, as for your hitting chart... you can shove that someplace else (like the trash bin), because for a catcher, hitting is a much lesser required trait... and Romine does not hit enough to overlook the differences these two have behind the dish.
I endorse this whole thread topic! WTF is Stewart doing playing over Romine! It's asinine to think this is actually positive for a line up trying to reinvent it's offense in the 2nd half. Stewart is not the reason Kuroda is Kuroda or Nova is Nova. This is getting ridiculous.