Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tyler Austin the next Slade Heathcott

In the winter of 2014 the New York Yankees designated one of their former top prospects Slade Heathcott for assignment but not before working out a behind the scenes deal that would bring the lefty back to the organization. Heathcott was ultimately DFA’d, signed back to a new minor league deal and eventually called up to the Major Leagues multiple times in 2015. Could Tyler Austin, another former top Yankees prospect who was designated for assignment in 2015 and brought back to the organization on a minor league deal, be the Slade Heathcott of the 2016 campaign?

Yankees GM Brian Cashman sent Austin to the Arizona Fall League this season marking the third time in his career that Tyler has seen the AFL. Austin was chosen to replace Yankees third baseman Eric Jagielo on the roster after it was announced that Jagielo needed more time to recover from a midseason knee surgery, a blessing in disguise for Austin?

Austin has played much of his minor league career in right field but has worked at both first and third base in his career. Austin has started out playing first base in the Arizona Fall League which could be an indication of the Yankees future plans for him. The Yankees offense was exposed in 2015 after the injury to Mark Teixeira left left-handed swinging Greg Bird as the only true first base option for New York. Could Austin be working his way into a platoon spot, eventually, with Bird if the same was to occur in 2016? Quite possibly, yes.

Austin was drafted in the 2010 MLB First year Players Draft in the 13th round as the 77th best prospect according to Baseball America. Austin started out his professional season on fire and worked his way all the way to Triple-A before injuries and ineffectiveness derailed his career. Austin now has the pressure of being on the 40 man roster off his shoulders and has the opportunity to turn all the questions and negativity into a special sort of season in 2016, just like Heathcott did in 2015.

I, for one, am rooting for you Tyler. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)