Scouting Phils Prospect #17: Austin Hyatt

Austin Hyatt seemed to be cruising along until the 2012 season threw a roadblock in front of him. His struggles last season make the 2013 season an important one that will help determine his status as a true prospect.

Austin Hyatt

Position: Starting Pitcher
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Birthday/Age: May 23, 1986 (26)
Ht/Wt: 6' 3", 205 pounds

How he became a Phillie: Drafted by the Phillies in the 15th round of the 2009 Draft. Was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 23rd round of the 2004 Draft, but chose to attend the University of Alabama instead of signing out of high school.

Repertoire: Hyatt features a low-90s fastball that is made better by the quality of his change-up. The change leaves Hyatt's hand looking very much like a fastball, but gets there about ten miles per hour slower than the express. Overall, the fastball is decent, with some late break to it. Hyatt's third pitch is a slider that is also pretty good, but lags slightly behind his other two pitches. 

Scouting Report: In college, Hyatt wasn't necessarily an overpowering type of pitcher, but he had good control and mixed his pitches well. He was able to get away with letting hitters make some contact, because they never really got good swings at his pitches, because they never knew what to expect thanks to how Hyatt worked hitters. Once he got into the pro ranks, some tinkering with his mechanics improved his pitches and he started to develop into more of a strikeout pitcher, and he has struck out an average of 9.9 batters per nine innings.

In 2012, Hyatt had one of those seasons where nothing really worked for him. His control deserted him and his strikeouts dropped to 5.8 per nine innings, while he walked 4.3 batters per nine innings at Lehigh Valley and was sent back to Double-A Reading. Things improved at Reading, but not to the point where Hyatt had been previously. His struggles last season make the 2013 campaign a big one for him. Some reports have the Phillies toying with the idea of converting Hyatt into a reliever, where they believe his pitches could be more effective thanks to hitters only seeing them once per game rather than getting multiple shots at hitting off of him.

Ceiling: A lot will be determined by how Hyatt pitches in 2013. If he returns to form, he's got the potential to be a mid-rotation starter, but that's in a perfect world. Should Hyatt suffer with control issues like he did last season or simply not be able to consistently get guys out at Triple-A, then it's likely the Phillies will see if there is anything there as a reliever.

ETA: Hyatt's path will likely be quicker if the Phillies do convert him to a reliever. There are simply better starting candidates ahead of him and there is more and more thought that he may be better suited to the bullpen, anyway. Either way, he doesn't figure to get any auditions in 2013, but he could get a spring audition in 2014 out of the bullpen. Otherwise, he would just have to wait his turn.

Austin Hyatt's career stats

2009combined stats301.2218659.031108114890.7630.26.36
2010combined stats1253.322725146.112161549441811.1280.64.11
2012Lehigh Valley276.33111154.06245381026351.6301.71.35
2012combined stats10125.272727141.2154968324521101.4541.52.12
4 Seasons37233.7910086501.1442236211541595511.1991.03.47
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/2/2013.

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