It hasn’t been easy for Tyler Austin the last few years. Stamped a top prospect after a 2012 season in which he batted .322 (133-for-413) with 35 doubles, six triples, 17 home runs and 80 RBIs among the Gulf Coast Yankees, Charleston, Tampa and Trenton, it’s been tough going.
An assortment of injuries limited the 23-year-old native in Conyers, Ga., to 83 games at Trenton – with two rehab stints in the GCL – in 2013. He hit just six home runs that season.
His 2014 year, recovering from a wrist injury started off slowly, but he batted over .300 during last half of the season at Trenton, finishing with at .275 (109-for-396) with 20 doubles, five triples, nine homers and 47 RBIs.
“I’m rally starting to feel good again,’’ said Austin, who split time between right field and first base in Trenton. “I really think the bad times are in the past. I’m healthy and playing at a good level.
“My swing feels good, and I feel my power getting back to where I can really drive the ball, and I’m pleased with my play in the field.’’
Austin followed his string Trenton finish with a good effort in the Arizona Fall League with the Scottsdale Scorpions, batting .304 (29-for-69) with a pair of home runs and 13 RBIs, He ran into an outfield wall the last week of the AFL campaign, but emerged with just bruises.
It was enough for the Yankees to protect the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Austin from the Rule 5 Draft and plce him on the 40-man roster.
He moves well in right field with a slightly above-average throwing arm. His routes to the ball are excellent, and he has the quickness to track down fly balls. At first base, his defense is better-than-adequate.
With the frustration of injury behind him, Austin is ticketed to start 2015 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where a solid performance could get him a look in The Bronx. It is a key season for him as he continues to re-establish himself as a prospect.