Name: Tyer Austin
Position: Right Field
DOB: September 6, 1991
Batting and Power. Though his batting averages in recent seasons [he's been a .259 hitter between Double-A and Triple-A] might exactly be overwhelming proof, Austin does have the ability to be a solid hitter for average, even a high-average hitter when he's going right. He has superb bat speed, a very patient approach at the plate, good pitch recognition, and solid plate discipline when he's not trying to do too much. That last part has been Austin's biggest downfall as of late; he has failed trying to make up for lost time due to injuries by trying too hard. He has above average power potential right now to all fields and even plus power potential to pull-side so he can be susceptible to trying to muscle up to make better use of his power and as a result he can have a hard time laying off of better breaking pitches outside of the strike zone. He's at his best when he is taking what the pitchers give him and uses the whole field to hit line drives from foul pole to foul pole, and not trying to pull every pitch 400 feet down the left field line. As he has shown for long stretches in his career he has the natural approach and power to be a true impact and consistent hitter but he must remain constant with his patience in order to do so.
Base Running and Speed. Austin is far from a burner. In fact, his speed is merely average overall and perhaps just a click above average for a corner guy but he can have an impact running the bases. He shows real intelligence running the bases and employs an aggressive running style overall, especially stealing bases. He is an above average station to station runner and a solid stolen base threat [his career success rate is still a whopping 89 percent], one who can annually chip in with 10-20 stolen bases when he's getting on base at a consistent rate. He a power hitter who can steal his fair share of bases and that's a bit of a rarity in today's game.
Defense. The former high school catcher who transitioned to third base initially before finally settling out in the corner outfield spots has quickly morphed into a very reliable defensive player. He has the above average arm strength to play right field, shows an accurate arm, and has average or better range for a corner outfield spot. All of it spells at least an average big league defensive corner outfielder but his tenacity and all-out hustle style of play can allow him to make above average plays at times too. He's a solid defensive option.
Projection. Austin has all of the physical and mental tools to not only still have the ceiling of an everyday big league starting corner outfielder but one whose ceiling is considerably higher than that too. A plus-plus makeup guy, one who overcame testicular cancer as a teenager, Austin has the above average power potential, average or better speed and defensive abilities, and hitting foundation in place to be a true impact player in every phase of the game. However, lost time with injury problems in recent seasons and a resulting pressing at the plate have derailed what is an otherwise natural ability to be a consistent hitter. He and the Yankees are hoping that it's just a temporary derailment and that he will get back to his natural approach of being patient, not pressing, taking what the pitchers give him, and using the whole field again by hitting line drives from gap to gap. The ability is there, it's just a matter of doing it again.
ETA. 2016. Set to begin his sixth full professional season, the former 40-man roster player is now at a pivotal point in his career. Where he begins the 2016 season is not nearly as important as where he finishes it. Whether he begins the season back where he ended last year [in Double-A Trenton] or not, he should see ample Triple-A playing time and he'll need to resurrect his consistent hitting ways relatively quickly if he's to remain a viable internal option for the Yankees. His time in pinstripes will be growing short if he doesn't.