When Mark Teixeira announced last week that he would be retiring at the conclusion of the 2016 season, many assumed that Greg Bird, currently on the Disabled List from labrum surgery, would be next in line to take over at first base. Not so fast.
Joe Girardi has recently stated that the former prospect-turned-bust-turned-prospect-again Tyler Austin would battle for the first base job. He’s also been taking reps at 3B – watch out Chase Headley, the Youth Train is a-comin’.
Austin was drafted in the 13th round of the 2010 Amateur Draft. In 2012, he popped up on the map when he batted .322 with 17 HR across four levels of minor league ball, finishing in AA as a 20-year-old.
His 2013, 2014, and 2015 seasons were rough, however, as he failed to show the power bat he displayed in the low minors and struggled to keep his batting average above .250.
This season has been a different story, though. Called up from AA after 50 games of so-so numbers, he has taken off at AAA. In 54 games with the Rail Riders he has batted .321 with 13 HR, 47 RBI and 5 SB.
The question is when, not if, he will be called up. Is it a mirage? Or has the former prospect finally put it all together?