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Tyler Austin

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Christopher Tyler Austin

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Tyler Austin hit .354 in his first full minor league season.

Austin was picked by the New York Yankees in the 13th round of the 2010 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Darryl Monroe for $130,000 and made his pro debut that summer. He went 0 for 2 with two times hit-by-pitch that summer for the GCL Yankees before a left hand fracture ended his season. In 2011, he played for the GCL Yankees again (.390/.438/.622, 22 RBI in 20 G) and for the Staten Island Yankees (.323/.402/.542 in 27 G). Overall, he had 29 runs and 36 RBI in 47 games while stealing 18 bases in 18 tries. He fielded .983 at first base and .906 at third base. Baseball America ranked him as the 8th-best prospect in the New York-Penn League, between Tony Wolters and Nick Kingham.

Tyler moved to right field with the 2012 Charleston RiverDogs but remained red-hot at the plate. He hit .320/.405/.598 with 69 runs and 14 home runs in his first 70 games, with 17 steals in 19 tries. He was battling Alen Hanson for the South Atlantic League OPS lead. He then was chosen for the US team in the 2012 Futures Game but did not play in their 17-5 romp over the World squad. He was then promoted to the Tampa Yankees. He hit .321 in 26 games for Tampa, then got a two-game look at AA with the Trenton Thunder to conclude the season with a combined line of .322/.400/.559, with 35 doubles, 17 homers and 80 RBIs. It looked like he would be up in the Bronx in no time, but it took longer than anticipated. His 2013 season was cut to 85 games because of an injury, with most of his playing time coming with Trenton. He hit only .257 with the Thunder with only 6 homers and 40 RBIs. He repeated the level in 2013 and hit .275 in 105 games with 9 homers and 47 RBIs. They were decent numbers, but not those of a budding superstar as those of his first few seasons had been.

2015 marked his third straight year starting off at Trenton, but this time he was promoted to the AAA International League after 21 games of hitting .260. With the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, he hit only .235 for a combined batting line of .240/.315/.343 in 94 games, with only 6 homers for a player expected to be a power threat. His lack of progress could have led to his being released, but the Yankees gave him another chance and in 2016, back to Trenton he went. He hit .260 in 50 games, was promoted back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and there, things finally clicked. In his next 57 games, he hit a scorching .323 with 24 doubles and 13 homers to earn the long-awaited promotion to the Show.

In his major league debut for the Yankees on August 13, 2016, he played first base and batted 6th against the Tampa Bay Rays, one day after former superstar Alex Rodriguez played his farewell game for the Bronx Bombers. In his first career at-bat, coming in the 2nd inning facing Matt Andriese, he homered to right field to open the score. Fellow rookie Aaron Judge, also making his debut, following him by also going deep in his first at-bat, something unprecedented in big league history. Tyler went 2 for 4 in his debut, and the Yankees were 8-4 winners. On September 8th, he hit a walk-off home run off Erasmo Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to give New York a 5-4 win. It was the fifth straight victory by the Yankees, who had been playing very well since starting their youth movement and were now in the thick of the chase for a wild card slot.

Source: 2012 Yankees Media Guide

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