BBB Top Prospect Countdown #30: Tyler Austin

Yankees outfield prospect Tyler Austin presents an interesting case for his 2016 campaign. Just three short years ago (prior to the 2013 season), Austin was a consensus top 5 prospect in the Yankees organization and one of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. However, underperformance and injuries over the past few seasons have led to him being designated for assignment at the end of 2015 which prevented him from being a September call-up. Austin needs to put together a solid season if he hopes to return to the organization in 2017.
Photo Via YES Network

Breakdown
After breaking into professional ball, Austin quickly made a name for himself hitting .354 and .322 respectively in 2011 and 2012. His breakout performance in 2011 and sustained success the next year in 2012 earned him Yankees Minor League Player of the Year honors and led to him being regarded as one of the top prospects in the Yankees’ farm system.

By age 21, Austin was already appearing in action in double-A Trenton and was looking like he would fast-track his way to the big leagues. But a nagging wrist injury kept him out of many games in 2013 and ultimately limited his production that season. He would finish the year hitting .265 with six homers, one triple and 17 doubles in 85 games.

Austin looked to return to his normal self in 2014 but similar to Mark Teixeira with the Yankees in 2014, his wrist injury just would not allow him to do so. Still, Austin went on to hit .275 on the year with five homers, nine triples and 20 doubles in large part due to a red-hot second half which garnered attention leading many to believe his career might have been rejuvenated.

Projection
Austin looks to start the season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders where in 73 games in triple-A last year, he hit to a slash line of .235/.309/.311, much lower than his career slash line in the minors of .286/.360/.447. Outfield looks to be one of the Yankees deepest positions in the Yankee farm so although he will likely see spot starts in the outfield, it is likely Austin will see most of his time at first and third base.

Now in his age 24 season, if Austin can hit the ball to his fullest potential, the versatile corner outfielder and corner infielder could make his way to the Bronx in 2016. Granted, he must earn his way back onto the 40-man roster but his versatility and injuries to other players should allow him to do that. But at the end of the day, this is all dependent on how he performs this season. In the event that he can’t perform that way he has shown he can in the past, this may be Austin’s final season in the Yankees organization. 

You can view his minor league stats here.
You can keep up with our full top 30 list with links to our breakdowns HERE.

Article by: Chad Raines
Follow me on twitter @Chad_Rain
Follow the BBB on twitter @BronxBomberBlog

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