New York Yankees prospect Tyler Austin was not a well-known player at the start of the 2012 season.
But in less than one year, Austin has steadily risen through the Yankees' ranks to become the No. 3 prospect in the organization.
Still just 22, this 6’2”, 200-pound Georgia native is a speedy athlete with steadfast lumber and an above-average arm.
In 110 minor league games last year, Austin batted .322 (133-for-413) with 17 home runs and 80 RBI. The right-hander also garnered 36 doubles, six triples and 23 stolen bases.
Austin’s OBP/SLG/OPS was a very respectable .400/.559/.960.
Now entering the 2013 campaign, this 2012 Futures Game selection has been invited to spring training (per Kurt Aschermann of the Rockdale Citizen).
This is a pretty neat development, considering Austin is not on the Yankees’ 40-man roster.
But what makes Austin so impressive is not so much the fact he was not selected until the 13th round of the 2010 First Year Player Draft.
It is more how this young man carries himself that may eventually thrust him into fan favorite status in the Bronx and beyond.
From Austin’s recent interview with MilB.com writer Danny Wild, this guy looks like a quiet, humble and hard-working player who is willing to do whatever it takes to help the Yankees succeed.
Austin also seems very coachable; he does not hide his “kid in a candy store” mindset (when talking about being able to play ball with current Yankees stars).
And whether it means playing catcher, manning third base, or roaming the outfield, Austin also appears willing to deploy wherever Yankees manager Joe Girardi tells him to go.
This is refreshing to see, especially in an era where many athletes seem to have become so specialized.
More impressive, Austin is a resilient person who has beaten cancer. He has also bounced back from a scary incident of being hit square in the head during the 2012 Future’s Game.
While Austin will probably begin 2013 for the Double-A Trenton Thunder, Yankees fans should track this guy’s progress closely—maybe even snag a rookie card or two.
Austin seems like a special ballplayer—one that comes along only so often.