Scouting Yankees Prospect #3: Tyler Austin

The Yankees drafted then catcher Tyler Austin in the 13th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Heritage High School in Georgia. Since that time he has shifted over to third base, then first base, before ultimately landing in right field last season. What hasn't changed, however, is that he still swings one of the most productive bats in the entire Yankee farm system.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Tyler Austin
Position: Right Field
DOB: September 6, 1991
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 200
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He hit a combined .322 with a remarkable 58 extra-base hits and 23 stolen bases over four minor league levels in 2012 and advanced all the way to Double-A by season's end.

"Statistically I felt the year was great, I couldn't be more happy about it, but at the end of the day we didn't achieve the goal of winning any championships on the teams I was with," he said.

"So statistically it was a good season and the teams I was on did real well but we didn't finish the deal unfortunately. Other than that I'm really happy with the way it went."

Once considered a project defensively at third base, while he looked more comfortable at first base that comfort level rose exponentially once he was moved to right field in Spring Training last year.

"Honestly, I'm very, very comfortable in right field. During Instructs we made a few adjustments that I figure are going to help me out in the long haul with positioning and coming through balls, and footwork. But at the end of the day I feel great out there in right field.

"I feel like it gives me the best chance to get to the big leagues. I honestly feel so fantastic out there. It seems to me it has come a lot easier than third base did but there's still a lot of room for improvement out there. I've got to keep working hard and get better each and every day."

As good has he has been in his short career thus far -- a .331 average, 53 doubles, 23 home runs, and 41 stolen bases in just 159 games -- what separates Austin from most minor league sluggers is he doesn't relish in his accomplishments. He is constantly wanting to get better.

"Honestly, I believe that every part from the defense to at the plate to running bases to getting the right reads, I think I that I need to improve in every way that I can," he said.

"Last year is in the past, I'm not even thinking about that anymore. I'm pushing myself hard now to get myself in the best position to have another successful season in 2013."

He is completely serious too. He is not only one who makes quick adjustments, he is one of the hardest workers around.

"I've maybe put on a couple of extra pounds, probably five or ten pounds that I've put on," he revealed. "I've lifted hard this offseason.

"I needed to get stronger and I needed to get faster so I really took a lot of pride this offseason in getting better in the gym and mobility-wise."

It's that kind of high level makeup combined with outstanding on the field production that has allowed some to surmise that he will most likely be one of the first [next] in-house options for the big league team soon, especially with the Yankees having some potential openings on the club as they look to reduce payroll the next two years.

"It's an exciting feeling but I'm really not getting caught up in all of that stuff. It's too early for me to be thinking about that.

"I've just got to get out there, get on the field, work hard, play hard each and every day, and hopefully that stuff will take care of itself.

"I've got to keep a level head, go about my business and keep working hard because the job's not over yet. I still have a long way to go before I play in New York but I'd say the confidence is pretty high at this point," he concluded.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2012 Trenton .286 7 0 0 1 2 0 1 1 .375 .286
2012 Tampa .321 134 13 2 23 20 6 12 28 .385 .478
2012 Charleston .320 266 22 14 54 69 17 37 68 .405 .598
2012 GCL Yankees .500 6 0 1 2 1 0 1 1 .571 1.000
2011 Staten Island .323 96 10 3 14 16 7 10 23 .402 .542
2011 GCL Yankees .390 82 8 3 22 13 11 5 16 .438 .622
2010 GCL Yankees .000 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .000


Batting and Power. Austin has really developed into a premier slugger and it's because he is extremely adept at being patient enough to sit on his pitches and use his incredible bat speed to make pitchers pay for mistakes in the zone. Like most right-handed power guys he can be susceptible to better breaking pitches out of the zone, but he is better than most at laying off of them. He isn't a high walks guy but he shows the requisite patience and pitch recognition to some day become one.

Base Running and Speed. He has very good speed for a slugging type but he is more of an average runner overall. However, he is extremely proficient at reading pitcher's moves and he is a very intelligent base runner. His 95 percent stolen base success rate is ridiculous. While he might outgrow his current speed impact, he will always be a good base runner.

Defense. Once a sub-par defensive third baseman, he has really turned himself into a potential above average defensive right fielder in one short year. He has good arm strength and average range, but he has a real knack for reading balls coming off of the bat.

Projection. Austin went from an all-hit, no defense kind of third baseman to completely transform himself into one of the better all-around corner outfielders in minor league baseball. He still swings the kind of potent bat that has a heart of a big league lineup kind of ceiling but now he can also chip in defensively too. Hitting-wise he resembles a young Paul Konerko type because of his power impact with a short, compact stroke, one who shouldn't be a big strikeout guy either, but he shows a lot more athleticism in the early going.

ETA. 2014. He's ready for Double-A Trenton in 2013 and at the rate he's going it is going to be really tough for the Yankees to not give him a big league shot the following year.

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