Thursday, February 4, 2016

Meet a Prospect: Tyler Austin

As recently as the beginning of the 2015 season Tyler Austin was graded by scouts as a B-, which anyone with a High School diploma, a GED, or an equivalent diploma can tell you... that is pretty darn good. He is a 3B by trade but also can play first base, where he'll likely start this season with the RailRiders, and the outfield while also being a potential DH type as well down the road. As a 19 yr. old he had one of the more polished bats in all of the New York Penn League (NYPL), the same NYPL that Mason Williams tore up in Staten Island. This is probably an anomaly but he was 18 for 18 in base stealing opportunities that season as well.

Drafted in the 13th round of the 2010 draft he broke his wrist in his 2nd pro game and missed basically the entire season. In his first season in extended spring training, the Gulf Coast League (GCL), and the NYPL in Staten Island Austin had a triple slash of .354/ .418/ .579 in 47 combined games including 26 extra base hits.

At 6'2" and 200 pounds his frame is athletic and speedy for a guy his size. He has shown that he can spray the ball to all fields although he needs to develop more power. He has nothing left to prove at the "lower" levels of the minor league systems and looks to bring his tools with him to the Bronx as he is knocking on the door as soon as 2016 after the injury to Greg Bird. The biggest concern with Austin is going to be what position will he play and can he find some consistency with his bat. The scouts are wondering whether he can be adequate enough to stay at the 3B position, although his lack of power thus far scares most away from having him be a 1B. Does Austin have the speed, the range and the arm to play right field? Honestly I think he can play any position he so chooses to, the guy is that talented. My biggest concern is the bat, can he find the consistency? He is very hit-or-miss and he's either on or off and unfortunately it's been more off than on in recent seasons.

Keith Law, insider required or I would link, even placed him on his "sleeper" prospects for the 2012 season saying “Third baseman Tyler Austin has turned himself into a pretty good defender over there, defying earlier predictions he’d have to move to first,” said KLaw of his sleeper pick for the Yankees. “[He] has a whole-field approach to hitting with pull power right now, and runs well for his size with a perfect stolen-base record in the pros.”

Austin will likely start the season in Scranton with the RailRiders in 2016 but may not be long for the minor leagues. Austin is ready defensively and will try to make strides with the bat next season. If Austin's wrist injuries are behind him, which I truly believe that they are, there is nothing stopping this young man from making it all the way to the Show. I've always been one of the biggest Austin fans around and I continue to be until he proves me wrong, and he hasn't yet.

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