He hit just .192 with a whopping 72 strikeouts in just 41 Gulf Coast League games last year. It was his first full season, however, and he is looking to put that behind him.
"It's a world of difference," Aune said. "My confidence is back. Last year, it was a rough year. It was a learning year for me, so this year it's back to playing right now.
"I think with last year I kind of knew what to expect coming into this year and that's huge. You have to know that baseball is definitely a mental grind as much as it is physical. For me, that's one of the biggest things I've been working on."
GCL hitting coach Drew Henson has noticed a difference in Aune this Extended Spring Training and has been working to continue his progress and confidence.
"Certainly, he's a completely different guy this year," Henson said. "Sometimes players in their first time around have some struggles -- shoot everyone does. I think he'll be better for it and he's much better player at this moment.
"Last year was his first full season, so really just getting game-at-bats. The more you get under your belt, the more experience you have, and then the more stuff we can work with as he goes along. Also, just getting reps and continuing to gain confidence."
This offseason and Spring Training the former 2012 second round pick has been putting in the extra effort to make his transition smoother from the shortstop position to the outfield. Aune believes outfield is a more natural position for him.
"I like it (outfield)," he said. "It's a lot easier. It's a lot easier on your legs. I was drafted as an outfielder. I played shortstop in high school. I'm just thankful the Yankees gave me the chance to try out shortstop, but outfield it's easy and I like the transition.
"Yeah, I think it works well with my athletic ability, so I think it's a better fit."
Coach Travis Chapman, who will be one of the GCL Yankees managers this season, know there's a lot of work to be done still but has noted Aune is making the strides and showing progress everyday.
"He's been working on his swing and continuing to build on the progressions he made last year," Chapman said. "Defensively, he's been working on routes in the outfield, and getting the balls, and continuing to improve on a already good performance from last year."
Chapman isn't worried about Aune's confidence either.
"Man, he's a great kid," Chapman continued. "He's coming out and competing and giving you a great AB [at-bat]. He plays the game hard and he works hard. He's a wonderful person and I'm glad I have the opportunity to coach him."
Aune looks more serious heading into this season and has definitely hit the weight room this offseason too. With his confidence up and the position transition going smoothly, Aune should be well worth his signing bonus.
This former Argyle High School standout is someone critics should not overlook and should continue to keep on their radar despite his not so great performance last year. He is very optimistic about the future and his season this year.
"Some of the goals are just playing to my best ability- getting to the next level and getting out of the GCL, I think that's goal number one," Aune said. "Then, wherever I go from there, it's just be solid. I want to lead the team in average or just try to be the best player and be a leader out there."
Aune Not Worrying About The Past
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