Saturday, June 25, 2016
Back at .500, Tex returning, playing our friends (the worst team in baseball) and still less interesting than Tyler Austin
Posted by el duque at 7:24 AM
Speaking of hell... Scranton! Last night, a former Jesus Montero-level prospect named Tyler Austin - (we do have a pile of "Tyler"s and "Austin"s in our system, but he is real, not an amalgamation) - hit three HRs against Little Evil Pawtucket. Austin is only 24, one year younger than old Rob Refsnyder. A few years ago, he made all the Mel Kiperesque prospect rankings, rising with a bullet. Then he reached Trenton. Ever since, Austin looked like a career minor leaguer. Now... well, he still does. But hey, you never know...
Five years ago, Austin made his pro debut by ripping up the Florida dirt leagues, hitting .354. The "scouts" hailed him as a gem of the 2010 draft. The following year, he hit .322 with 17 HRs at four levels, streaking through the system. He became a prospect-lover's erection. Then he reached Trenton, the place where Yankee prospects and Republican governors go to die. He hit a slimy .256, tweaked a gonad in his wrist and missed the better part of a year. He's never been the same... until, well, maybe now.
Over the last 10 games, Austin's hitting .308 with 4 HRs. He's done this while batting next to Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira, who are doing prison stretches in Scranton. There's a limit to the amount of wild hope that can be generated over a 10-day-stretch by a middling prospect at Triple A, and we're not talking about finding a cure for cancer. But if you combine Austin's totals this season at Trenton and Scranton, he's hit 10 HRs and is batting .273. Not bad. And here's the real rub: He's still more interesting than that miserable .500 team in the Bronx. I don't know how the Yankees can become exciting again, especially because today they'll probably demote Refsnyder - one of the few players worth watching - who will take the place of Tyler Austin.
Don't get me wrong. I like Teixeira. I want him to play well. But he's another summer rerun, the same old show. He smacks a screaming line drive into the gap in right center, where a fielder waits to catch it. Baseball is full of new stat lines, which do a great job of obscuring a player's worth. He's the stat I see on Tex: In 188 plate appearances, he is batting .180. Today, he returns. I'm supposed to be excited? Sorry. Thank you, Twins, in advance. But I'll be watching the minor league box scores. (Where Aaron Judge homered yesterday too!) They matter more.