Top Prospect #26: Tim Auty

Major League teams are only allowed a certain number of visas for international players. The Seattle Mariners needed another visa and Tim Auty was let go to make room. The Phillies quickly grabbed Auty, who they were very familiar with from his days in Australia.

The Phillies scouting efforts in Australia are well known. One of the guys that they pursued, but didn't get was outfielder Tim Auty. The highly touted young outfielder signed with the Mariners, but was a victim of a numbers game and the Mariners cut him loose when they needed another visa to sign a Latin American player. The Phillies took just three days to get Auty's signature on a contract.

After a successful first season in the professional ranks, the Phillies haven't determined where they'll assign Auty for the 2006 season. Basically, anything between the Gulf Coast League and Lakewood is a possibility and the Phillies are holding off on making that decision until they get Auty into camp this spring. For now, they're just glad to have him as part of their organization.

'05 AZL (R) 0 22 .352 29 108 24 38 14 2 1 14 17 .424
'05 Tacoma (AAA) 0 0 .100 3 10 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 .182
Career 0 22 .331 32 118 25 39 14 2 1 15 18 .404

Acquired: Signed by the Phillies on November 2, 2005 after being released by the Seattle Mariners. Was originally signed by the Mariners as an amateur free agent in December, 2003.

Batting and Power: The Phillies don't really figure on Auty being a dominant homerun hitter. They do expect that he'll be a player who will hit for average and find ways to get on base. Actually, Mariners scouts who originally scouted Auty weren't sure how he would handle pitchers in the U.S., but they were convinced that he had shown enough progress that he would be able to continue developing his offensive skills.

Baserunning and Speed: Auty has all the natural baseball instincts that he needs to keep himself out of trouble on the basepaths, but doesn't have great speed. Actually, he ranks as average in the speed department.

Defense: Both the Mariners and Phillies were impressed with Auty's defensive skills. He has a way of being positioned perfectly to make plays on balls that seem they may find open spaces. He also has a strong, accurate arm that comes in handy in the outfield. Most believe his offense to be good enough to be put into the higher ranks of defensive outfielders in the minors.

Projection: The Phillies don't really have a definite read on where they will want Auty to be in 2006. A lot will depend on what he does in camp this spring, but it's not out of the question that they'll challenge him with a promotion to Lakewood to let him play competitive ball all season long. If they feel the need to continue working with him a little more, than it's likely that he'll stay in extended camp and head out to Batavia once the short-season leagues begin. Auty just turned 20 years old in December, so the Phillies don't feel compelled to rush him if they're not convinced that he's ready.

Comparison: Auty could compare pretty favorably to Jason Michaels, but with better on-base skills and defense. Offensively, they compare pretty well, but Auty is the better natural athlete and will likely not labor as a fourth outfielder for as long as Michaels did.


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