Scouting Yankees Prospect #4: Tyler Austin

The Yankees drafted outfielder Tyler Austin in the 13th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Heritage High School in Georgia. Coming off of a dominating A-ball campaign in 2012, he seemed well on his way towards quickly ascending to the big leagues but an injury-marred season last year put the brakes on that in a big way.

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

He not only hit a disappointing .257 with just six home runs for Double-A Trenton last year after hitting a combined .322 with 58 extra-base hits and 23 stolen bases in 2012, but he missed essentially the last six weeks of the season with a hurt wrist and even left the Arizona Fall League early this offseason to rest some more.

"It's really frustrating just to have an injury in of itself," he said. "I try to play through injuries if I have them and I played with it [hurt] through some of the season, and it just wasn't getting any better.

"I realized it was time to say something about it so we shut it down. It was really frustrating to have an injury."

Wrist injuries are notorious for zapping hitters of their power and that could explain why Austin had such a down year in comparison to his seasons prior, but he also admits there were adjustments needed to be made at Double-A before he even sustained the injury.

"I thought there were some ups and downs," he said. "There was some stuff that I was really happy about.

"There were times where I thought I played well and there were times where I was trying to do too much, thinking too much, and I didn't play as well. That comes with maturing. I'm learning from this game and can't do anything but build on it from there."

He admits to pressing too much at the plate before sustaining the wrist injury, trying to force the issue offensively rather than stick to his normal patient approach at the plate.

"I was definitely a free swinger and tried to do too much up there," Austin said. "I was swinging at pitches I definitely shouldn't have been, but lately, I've been swinging less. So I've been waiting more to get a pretty good pitch to hit here and there and trying to put a good swing on it."

That was the approach he employed in 2011 and 2012 when he was hitting well over .300 and for power. What he learned, and those who critique him, is that adjustments do take time.

"I think [Tyler's] struggles got over-analyzed a little bit," Trenton hitting coach Justin Turner said. "This is a talented player; a kid that can make an impact at the Major League level for a long time.

"He's a very intelligent hitter and he's going to see pitchers in this league again. And guys that got him out before will have a tough time getting him out a second time."

He was making the necessary adjustments as the season progressed. Just a .253 hitter with one home run in his first 24 games, he bumped that up to .266 with four home runs over his next 48 games and everything was on an steady upward track until he got hurt.

"When you start to settle in, you do better, and that's what's starting to happen with Tyler," Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. "He is looking very comfortable at home plate, he's having very good at-bats where he's not giving them away, and not chasing as many pitches out of the strike zone.

"It's a matter of being comfortable with yourself, with the league, with what pitchers are trying to do to you, and pitching you haven't seen before. Tyler has made the adjustment not so much physically, but mentally."

Austin says he's confident he learned a valuable lesson last season and now better equipped to handle the valleys that come in the game of baseball, but more than anything he is just looking forward to playing injured-free once again.

"I felt like when I was in Trenton towards the end of the season I felt like I was close to my regular self," Austin said. "My wrist was fine. We were still making some tweaks to my swing.

"When I was down here in Tampa [rehabbing] we made some adjustments that I felt helped me. And when I got back to Trenton I felt comfortable again and in Arizona I felt really good, and really comfortable at the plate. I was doing well and then unfortunately this [injury] happened. You just have to go on from there."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2013 Trenton .257 319 17 6 40 43 4 41 79 .344 .373
2013 GCL Yankees2 .667 6 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 .714 .667
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. We mentioned a year ago that Austin can be susceptible to better breaking pitches out of the zone but he was better than most at laying off of them. Well, he got caught up in trying to dig himself out of an early-season hole last year and expanded his zone. When he's going right he uses his plus bat speed and normal patient approach to attack the pitches he wants earlier in counts, and that gives him the ability to hit for high averages. He is normally adept at using the whole field and has above average power to all fields, and plus power to the pull side.

Base Running and Speed. An average runner overall, he is a step or two quicker than most slugging types and he is one of the better base runners around. He was caught up in rectifying his swing last year and, not on base nearly as much, he stole less bases last year but his success rate is still 96 percent in his career. He is good for double-digit stolen base totals most seasons.

Defense. The former catcher and third baseman has turned himself into a very solid defender in right field. He doesn't have a plus defensive tool but the range is average to a tick above, the arm strength is above average, and the all-out hustle allows him to make some great defensive plays at times.

Projection. When healthy and not overdoing it, Austin has the plus bat speed, the patient approach and solid pitch recognition, the above average or better power potential, and the solid or better speed and defensive game to safely project as a big league starting right fielder, one who could slide in nicely into the heart of a big league order someday. Forget his numbers last season, a year in which he was adjusting and injured, he is a much better hitter than that and should get back to his productive ways once he gets and remains healthy.

ETA. 2015. What his down year last season did do is delay his eventual big league arrival time. Once a prime candidate to make his Major League debut this coming season, he will now head back to Double-A Trenton for some more seasoning. Don't be surprised though if he bounces back in a big way and becomes a viable big league option sometime the following year.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Tyler Austin
\r\nPosition: Right Field
\r\nDOB: September 6, 1991
\r\nHeight: 6'2\"
\r\nWeight: 200
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nHe not only hit a disappointing .257 with just six home runs for Double-A Trenton last year after hitting a combined .322 with 58 extra-base hits and 23 stolen bases in 2012, but he missed essentially the last six weeks of the season with a hurt wrist and even left the Arizona Fall League early this offseason to rest some more.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's really frustrating just to have an injury in of itself,\" he said. \"I try to play through injuries if I have them and I played with it [hurt] through some of the season, and it just wasn't getting any better.
\r\n
\r\n\"I realized it was time to say something about it so we shut it down. It was really frustrating to have an injury.\"
\r\n
\r\nWrist injuries are notorious for zapping hitters of their power and that could explain why Austin had such a down year in comparison to his seasons prior, but he also admits there were adjustments needed to be made at Double-A before he even sustained the injury.
\r\n
\r\n\"I thought there were some ups and downs,\" he said. \"There was some stuff that I was really happy about.
\r\n
\r\n\"There were times where I thought I played well and there were times where I was trying to do too much, thinking too much, and I didn't play as well. That comes with maturing. I'm learning from this game and can't do anything but build on it from there.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe admits to pressing too much at the plate before sustaining the wrist injury, trying to force the issue offensively rather than stick to his normal patient approach at the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was definitely a free swinger and tried to do too much up there,\" Austin said. \"I was swinging at pitches I definitely shouldn't have been, but lately, I've been swinging less. So I've been waiting more to get a pretty good pitch to hit here and there and trying to put a good swing on it.\"
\r\n
\r\nThat was the approach he employed in 2011 and 2012 when he was hitting well over .300 and for power. What he learned, and those who critique him, is that adjustments do take time.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think [Tyler's] struggles got over-analyzed a little bit,\" Trenton hitting coach Justin Turner said. \"This is a talented player; a kid that can make an impact at the Major League level for a long time.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a very intelligent hitter and he's going to see pitchers in this league again. And guys that got him out before will have a tough time getting him out a second time.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe was making the necessary adjustments as the season progressed. Just a .253 hitter with one home run in his first 24 games, he bumped that up to .266 with four home runs over his next 48 games and everything was on an steady upward track until he got hurt.
\r\n
\r\n\"When you start to settle in, you do better, and that's what's starting to happen with Tyler,\" Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. \"He is looking very comfortable at home plate, he's having very good at-bats where he's not giving them away, and not chasing as many pitches out of the strike zone.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's a matter of being comfortable with yourself, with the league, with what pitchers are trying to do to you, and pitching you haven't seen before. Tyler has made the adjustment not so much physically, but mentally.\"
\r\n
\r\nAustin says he's confident he learned a valuable lesson last season and now better equipped to handle the valleys that come in the game of baseball, but more than anything he is just looking forward to playing injured-free once again.
\r\n
\r\n\"I felt like when I was in Trenton towards the end of the season I felt like I was close to my regular self,\" Austin said. \"My wrist was fine. We were still making some tweaks to my swing.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I was down here in Tampa [rehabbing] we made some adjustments that I felt helped me. And when I got back to Trenton I felt comfortable again and in Arizona I felt really good, and really comfortable at the plate. I was doing well and then unfortunately this [injury] happened. You just have to go on from there.\"
\r\n
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\r\n

Year

\r\n

Team

\r\n

AVG

\r\n

AB

\r\n

2B

\r\n

HR

\r\n

RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

SB

\r\n

BB

\r\n

SO

\r\n

OBP

\r\n

SLG

\r\n 2013\r\n Trenton\r\n .257\r\n 319\r\n 17\r\n 6\r\n 40\r\n 43\r\n 4\r\n 41\r\n 79\r\n .344\r\n .373
\r\n 2013\r\n GCL Yankees2\r\n .667\r\n 6\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 1\r\n 0\r\n 1\r\n 0\r\n .714\r\n .667
\r\n 2012\r\n Trenton\r\n .286\r\n 7\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 1\r\n 2\r\n 0\r\n 1\r\n 1\r\n .375\r\n .286
\r\n 2012\r\n Tampa\r\n .321\r\n 134\r\n 13\r\n 2\r\n 23\r\n 20\r\n 6\r\n 12\r\n 28\r\n .385\r\n .478
\r\n 2012\r\n Charleston\r\n .320\r\n 266\r\n 22\r\n 14\r\n 54\r\n 69\r\n 17\r\n 37\r\n 68\r\n .405\r\n .598
\r\n 2012\r\n GCL Yankees\r\n .500\r\n 6\r\n 0\r\n 1\r\n 2\r\n 1\r\n 0\r\n 1\r\n 1\r\n .571\r\n 1.000
\r\n 2011\r\n Staten Island\r\n .323\r\n 96\r\n 10\r\n 3\r\n 14\r\n 16\r\n 7\r\n 10\r\n 23\r\n .402\r\n .542
\r\n 2011\r\n GCL Yankees\r\n .390\r\n 82\r\n 8\r\n 3\r\n 22\r\n 13\r\n 11\r\n 5\r\n 16\r\n .438\r\n .622
\r\n 2010\r\n GCL Yankees\r\n .000\r\n 2\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 0\r\n 1\r\n .500\r\n .000

\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power. We mentioned a year ago that Austin can be susceptible to better breaking pitches out of the zone but he was better than most at laying off of them. Well, he got caught up in trying to dig himself out of an early-season hole last year and expanded his zone. When he's going right he uses his plus bat speed and normal patient approach to attack the pitches he wants earlier in counts, and that gives him the ability to hit for high averages. He is normally adept at using the whole field and has above average power to all fields, and plus power to the pull side.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed. An average runner overall, he is a step or two quicker than most slugging types and he is one of the better base runners around. He was caught up in rectifying his swing last year and, not on base nearly as much, he stole less bases last year but his success rate is still 96 percent in his career. He is good for double-digit stolen base totals most seasons.
\r\n
\r\nDefense. The former catcher and third baseman has turned himself into a very solid defender in right field. He doesn't have a plus defensive tool but the range is average to a tick above, the arm strength is above average, and the all-out hustle allows him to make some great defensive plays at times.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. When healthy and not overdoing it, Austin has the plus bat speed, the patient approach and solid pitch recognition, the above average or better power potential, and the solid or better speed and defensive game to safely project as a big league starting right fielder, one who could slide in nicely into the heart of a big league order someday. Forget his numbers last season, a year in which he was adjusting and injured, he is a much better hitter than that and should get back to his productive ways once he gets and remains healthy.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2015. What his down year last season did do is delay his eventual big league arrival time. Once a prime candidate to make his Major League debut this coming season, he will now head back to Double-A Trenton for some more seasoning. Don't be surprised though if he bounces back in a big way and becomes a viable big league option sometime the following year.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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