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Who Is Andrew Romine?

The Angels are playing a couple of entertaining games this season. The first is called "let's stack the roster with slap-hitting middle-infielders." I think they won that game. The second is a variation on the first called "let's see how many slap-hitting middle-infielders can get injured simultaneously." With Maicer Izturis (shoulder), Erick Aybar (hernia), and now Alberto Callaspo (foot) all on the shelf, I like the Angels chances to win here too. The desolation leaves, um, Brandon Wood all alone at shortstop.

Andrew Romine is probably #6 on the organizational depth chart at short, and I say "probably" because what organization plans six spots deep at any position other than pitcher? The Angels skipped over #5, Hainley Statia, because, well, he's injured too. So welcome to the 40-man roster, Andrew James Romine from Winter Haven, FL. You'll get your players' union welcome packet in the mail.

So seriously, who is he? He didn't appear on Halos Heaven's Top 30 Prospects of 2010 list. He didn't make John Sickels' top 20 either (although Sickels did grade him a 'C'). You might recognize his name if you follow the team during spring training, however. The Angels took him in the 5th round of the 2007 draft as a junior out of Arizona State. A switch-hitter, he spent the entire minor league season at AA Arkansas, hitting .282 / .370 / .366 in 106 games. He also has 121 stolen bases in his minor-league career, albeit with a fairly average 74% success rate. This makes him out to be basically Reggie Willits on the offensive side: speed and good plate discipline, but zero power.

Unlike Willits, Romine is a shortstop, which is a good thing, since guys with zero power should not be playing corner outfield positions. By all accounts, Romine's glove rates very well. At age 24, he's still young enough to be considered a marginal prospect, and John Sickels offered Tommy Manzella as a possible comparable. Being compared to Tommy Manzella isn't exactly a feather in Romine's cap. He could be a useful bench player down the line if he ever hits for a decent average, but with a peak translation of .242 batting average based on his performance at Arkansas, he still has a lot to prove.