Scouting Yankees Prospect #9: Tyler Austin

The Yankees drafted outfielder Tyler Austin in the 13th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Heritage High School in Georgia. He battled wrist problems for the better part of a season and half before finally settling down health-wise in the second half of the 2014 season.

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

Batting and Power. Even when Austin was hitting for higher averages in seasons prior, like most hitters he had always been susceptible to better breaking pitches out of the zone. He has shown in spurts, however, to have the ability to lay off of those pitches but there have been other times -- mostly when he's been struggling -- where he tries to do too much at the plate, expand his zone, gets a little pull-happy to make better use of his power, and that has led to a longer swing. He has the natural ability to sit back, wait on his pitches, stay short, and use the whole field. He is still trying to find that consistent patient approach but when he's going right he shows the plus bat speed and natural ability to be a high average hitter with above average or better long-term power potential, especially to the pull-side.

Base Running and Speed. Not exactly fast overall, Austin does have better than average speed for a slugging corner player and it can play at a level higher with his intelligence on the base paths and overall aggressive running style as evidenced by his near 92 percent stolen base success rate over his minor league career. He is an above average station to station runner, one who also has the ability to chip in with double-digit stolen base seasons. Not a burner, he is an impact runner for a heart of the order hitter.

Defense. Drafted as a catcher who quickly moved over to third base early in his career, Austin moved to the outfield a little more two years ago and he has turned himself into a viably solid defender in right field. He has above average arm strength with surprisingly accurate throws, average or better range, and he's able to get good reads on the ball off of the bat too. He is an average defender at minimum, one who can show above average abilities in spurts.

Projection. With above average or better power potential, average or better speed and defensive abilities, and plus-plus makeup, Austin has both the physical and mental tools to not only potentially be an everyday starting big league corner outfielder but one who can be a real impact player on both sides of the ball too. However, health issues over recent years and subsequent pressing at the plate have caused some inconsistencies in an otherwise natural ability to hit. Getting back to his roots of being patient, taking what the pitchers give him, and using the whole field more is what's needed for him to tap his sizable potential.

ETA. 2015. A 40-man roster player, the smart bet has Austin seeing his first big league action with a September call-up later in 2015 and with his natural talent he's a guy who could see some immediate success.

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