Consistency Is Key For Austin

Austin has reached base safely in 31 straight gms

CHARLESTON, SC - This season Tyler Austin has separated himself from the rest of his single-A piers and has quickly become one of the Yankees' most highly regarded prospects. In the South Atlantic League Austin places fifth in batting average and is second in home runs entering Thursday night, and it might not be long before he takes his talent to a higher level.

The combination of a .329 average and 14 home runs entering Thursday's game has earned him several accolades this year including a Player of the Week nod, participating in the SAL All-Star game, and being selected for Team USA in this year's All-Star Futures Game.

Austin attributes his standout numbers to his off-field preparation and routines.

"Getting quality work instead of quantity has definitely been a big thing so far into the season," Austin said. "I've been doing a few different things in the cages and our batting practice has really helped me out. I've been focusing on getting a good pitch and going up there and having a solid at-bat."

The key to Austin's success this season, in the opinions of RiverDogs manager Carlos Mendoza and hitting coach Greg Colbrunn, has been his consistency.

"He's been a really consistent hitter this year," Mendoza said. "He did it last year too and he carried it into this season.

"He's been one of the most consistent hitters all around the league and the numbers show it. He's got a very short swing, it's nice and compact and he's got the ability to drive the ball all over the field."

"He's just been really consistent all year and he hasn't had too many games where he's struggled, and he's been generating pretty good," Colbrunn added. "He could go [to a higher level] pretty quickly so hopefully he'll stay consistent while he's here."

If he does move up quickly from single-A, as Colbrunn suggested, Austin is excited and at ease with the prospect of a more challenging environment.

"I'm not really worried about that. If they call me up then I'll go up there and I'll be ready to step up to the challenge, get better each and every day and try to help that team win," Austin said.

"I'd be excited but I don't really think about it too much. I know I've got to come out each and every day and play no matter where I am. I haven't really thought about it but if it happens then I'll be really excited."

Although playing for a new team and at a higher level presents its fair share of challenges, Mendoza sees tremendous potential in Austin's ability to adapt and remain consistent.

"You always face some new challenges the higher you go," Mendoza said. "Everyday it's all about challenges. He's got the ability to make adjustments and I think he'll be fine."

Austin has already faced an experience that would be nerve-racking for any young player. Part of the SAL All-Star weekend included a lunch with Tyler Austin's potential future boss, Brian Cashman.

"I was kind of nervous talking to Cashman because I've never talked to him but he's a really great guy," Austin. "He had some insightful things to say and I think I was able to learn a lot from him."

Austin may be well on his way out of Charleston soon, but the coaches hope he will remain consistent and continue to improve in his remaining time.

"He's swinging the bat well and hopefully in the near future he'll get to show what he's been doing, but as of now he's still learning," Colbrunn said.

"He's got a lot to learn, but he's going to develop into a pretty special player," Mendoza added.

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