Aune Getting Better

STATEN ISLAND, NY - Austin Aune was once a highly touted high school football recruit and baseball star, and he entered the professional ranks with a ton of promise. Three years later he hasn't exactly lived up to that top billing just yet but he is slowly and steadily improving his game.

In his first year as a pro, in 2012, in the Gulf Coast League, Austin Aune batted .273 with 19 runs and 20 RBI in 39 games. He had displayed the promise the Yankees were looking for after selecting him in the second round of that year’s draft. However, a poor 2013 proved to be a major speed bump for him.

In 41 games last season, Aune batted a paltry .192 with only 13 runs scored and 12 RBI. His on-base percentage dropped from a respectable .358 to an abysmal .230, while is slugging percentage dropped nearly 300 points from .768 to .493.

This year Aune is working to get back on track. He’s not quite where he was two years ago but he’s made steady improvements. And perhaps most importantly, he’s feeling good.

“I think I’m doing pretty good,” Aune said. “I think there’s room to improve on both ends – both offensively and defensively, obviously. Just consistency of my swing, getting good pitches to hit, and you can always sharpen your defensive skills out there in the outfield.”

Aune admitted that his confidence wasn’t quite there last year – and with good reason. But when a young player gets too down on himself it can become destructive to his career. After Aune put in some hard work during the offseason he said his confidence began to rise.

“I think that I’m a better player mentally [this year],” he said. “Last year was, obviously, not the best year I’ve ever had. But I think it was a mental grind for me – it gave me mental strength. To come into this year, when I’m doing bad [I try] not to get so down on myself. Really I feel like I’m a lot better on the mental side of the game.”

This season, Aune’s average is up to .221 and already has nearly as many runs scored and RBI as last season with 15 and 11, respectively. He has set a career-high in doubles with 14, which is tied for second on the Staten Island club, and has hit one home run, which is tied for a career high.

Before the Staten Island season began Aune was working hard on all aspects of his game in Extended Spring Training where both he and his manager, Mario Garza, felt he made steady improvements on the diamond.

“He made some strides during Extended,” Garza said. “He started driving the ball to all fields, which is a really, really good sign. His swing has been compact, he’s powerful but really he started to show his athleticism that we knew was in there and he’s playing with a lot of confidence.”

Prior to being drafted by the Yankees Aune was committed to playing quarterback for Division I Texas Christian University. When he was drafted he chose to join the pros as opposed to play college football, a gamble that Aune is still working at to pay off.

The Yankees knew Aune had potential, if for no other reason that his sheer athletic abilities. And when he started to play for them, they moved him from shortstop to the outfield. It was only one more obstacle Aune would have to overcome.

“[The transition has been] really easy to be honest,” Aune said. “I feel natural out there. I think my abilities are better suited out there anyway, so it’s been an easy transition.”

“I mean, [he’s a] tremendous talent,” Garza said. “You’ve got a kid whose able to go play quarterback at a major Division I college, that’s a pretty good sign. Some of the things we’ve seen him do on the baseball field; he runs, he throws, he’s got the potential to be a five tool player.”

So despite all of the troubles Aune had faced last year he has taken them head on, and with a positive attitude. He understands playing the way he did last year won’t get him anywhere. He’s put in the time to work on his swing, and he’s gone to practice in the outfield with an open mind. His efforts are beginning to show off but he’s not there just yet.

He still wants to progress as a hitter by putting better swings on the ball and being more consistent at the plate.

“Getting [my swing] consistent,” Aune said of what he needs the most improvement. “I’ve had a lot of strikeouts this year but that changes just with consistency and confidence in my swing, what I’m doing off the field, and tee work, and batting practice, and everything.”

“I think he’s in a real good spot this year,” Garza said. “He’s made some strides, he’s become a more confident player, an all-around player.”

He’s still a young player, at 20 years old, and has plenty of time to develop as a player. Like anyone else playing at this level for the first time, he will have to make adjustments to the way the game is played.

One of the major differences between A-Ball and rookie ball are the amount of games they play as well as the addition of night games. The schedule and travel can take its toll on younger players, as Aune is finding out.

“[The biggest difference is] playing night games, to be honest – really the schedule. I’ve been in the GCL for two years. So we’ve had day games and the late nights, and the bus rides, and everything has been the biggest adjustment I’ve had this year.”

“He’s just got to get experience,” Garza said. “He’s a young player. He’s got to learn the game, learn situations, and really just relax and let his talent play.”

In the final month of the season Aune looks to continue playing solid ball in the outfield while making strides at the plate. By putting in the work he has been, he feels everything should come around again. And just to finish out the season strong is all Aune would like to see from himself this year.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nIn his first year as a pro, in 2012, in the Gulf Coast League, Austin Aune batted .273 with 19 runs and 20 RBI in 39 games. He had displayed the promise the Yankees were looking for after selecting him in the second round of that year’s draft. However, a poor 2013 proved to be a major speed bump for him.
\r\n
\r\nIn 41 games last season, Aune batted a paltry .192 with only 13 runs scored and 12 RBI. His on-base percentage dropped from a respectable .358 to an abysmal .230, while is slugging percentage dropped nearly 300 points from .768 to .493.
\r\n
\r\nThis year Aune is working to get back on track. He’s not quite where he was two years ago but he’s made steady improvements. And perhaps most importantly, he’s feeling good.
\r\n
\r\n“I think I’m doing pretty good,” Aune said. “I think there’s room to improve on both ends – both offensively and defensively, obviously. Just consistency of my swing, getting good pitches to hit, and you can always sharpen your defensive skills out there in the outfield.”
\r\n
\r\nAune admitted that his confidence wasn’t quite there last year – and with good reason. But when a young player gets too down on himself it can become destructive to his career. After Aune put in some hard work during the offseason he said his confidence began to rise.
\r\n
\r\n“I think that I’m a better player mentally [this year],” he said. “Last year was, obviously, not the best year I’ve ever had. But I think it was a mental grind for me – it gave me mental strength. To come into this year, when I’m doing bad [I try] not to get so down on myself. Really I feel like I’m a lot better on the mental side of the game.”
\r\n
\r\nThis season, Aune’s average is up to .221 and already has nearly as many runs scored and RBI as last season with 15 and 11, respectively. He has set a career-high in doubles with 14, which is tied for second on the Staten Island club, and has hit one home run, which is tied for a career high.
\r\n
\r\nBefore the Staten Island season began Aune was working hard on all aspects of his game in Extended Spring Training where both he and his manager, Mario Garza, felt he made steady improvements on the diamond.
\r\n
\r\n“He made some strides during Extended,” Garza said. “He started driving the ball to all fields, which is a really, really good sign. His swing has been compact, he’s powerful but really he started to show his athleticism that we knew was in there and he’s playing with a lot of confidence.”
\r\n
\r\nPrior to being drafted by the Yankees Aune was committed to playing quarterback for Division I Texas Christian University. When he was drafted he chose to join the pros as opposed to play college football, a gamble that Aune is still working at to pay off.
\r\n
\r\nThe Yankees knew Aune had potential, if for no other reason that his sheer athletic abilities. And when he started to play for them, they moved him from shortstop to the outfield. It was only one more obstacle Aune would have to overcome.
\r\n
\r\n“[The transition has been] really easy to be honest,” Aune said. “I feel natural out there. I think my abilities are better suited out there anyway, so it’s been an easy transition.”
\r\n
\r\n“I mean, [he’s a] tremendous talent,” Garza said. “You’ve got a kid whose able to go play quarterback at a major Division I college, that’s a pretty good sign. Some of the things we’ve seen him do on the baseball field; he runs, he throws, he’s got the potential to be a five tool player.”
\r\n
\r\nSo despite all of the troubles Aune had faced last year he has taken them head on, and with a positive attitude. He understands playing the way he did last year won’t get him anywhere. He’s put in the time to work on his swing, and he’s gone to practice in the outfield with an open mind. His efforts are beginning to show off but he’s not there just yet.
\r\n
\r\nHe still wants to progress as a hitter by putting better swings on the ball and being more consistent at the plate.
\r\n
\r\n“Getting [my swing] consistent,” Aune said of what he needs the most improvement. “I’ve had a lot of strikeouts this year but that changes just with consistency and confidence in my swing, what I’m doing off the field, and tee work, and batting practice, and everything.”
\r\n
\r\n“I think he’s in a real good spot this year,” Garza said. “He’s made some strides, he’s become a more confident player, an all-around player.”
\r\n
\r\nHe’s still a young player, at 20 years old, and has plenty of time to develop as a player. Like anyone else playing at this level for the first time, he will have to make adjustments to the way the game is played.
\r\n
\r\nOne of the major differences between A-Ball and rookie ball are the amount of games they play as well as the addition of night games. The schedule and travel can take its toll on younger players, as Aune is finding out.
\r\n
\r\n“[The biggest difference is] playing night games, to be honest – really the schedule. I’ve been in the GCL for two years. So we’ve had day games and the late nights, and the bus rides, and everything has been the biggest adjustment I’ve had this year.”
\r\n
\r\n“He’s just got to get experience,” Garza said. “He’s a young player. He’s got to learn the game, learn situations, and really just relax and let his talent play.”
\r\n
\r\nIn the final month of the season Aune looks to continue playing solid ball in the outfield while making strides at the plate. By putting in the work he has been, he feels everything should come around again. And just to finish out the season strong is all Aune would like to see from himself this year.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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