Tyler Austin, a 20-year-old outfield prospect, continues to knock the cover off the baseball for the Charleston RiverDogs – the New York Yankees Low A ballclub. He began the season ranked somewhere between 15-20 on most 'Yankees Top Prospects' lists, but the raw power he's shown early in 2012 make him an prospect to keep an eye on.
Let's take a closer look at Austin's week, as well as a few other Yankees top prospects in this week's Minor League Update. Last week's 'pitcher of the week', D.J. Mitchell, was called up to the Majors on Sunday.
Pitcher Of The Week: Bryan Mitchell (5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, Win)
There weren't many great pitching performances from Yankees farmhands this week, so Mitchell's win over the Lexington Legends earns him this week's pitcher of the week honors.
Unlike last week's pitcher of the week, D.J. Mitchell, Bryan won't be called up to the Majors any time soon. The 21-year-old was drafted in the 16th round in 2009, but 2012 marks his first season as a full-time minor leaguer. The last two seasons he was limited to rookie ball and short season ball.
He's a lower tier prospect in the Yankees organization, but possesses above average stuff. His problems have been consistency and control. He's had two good starts this season – this week's performance and his first start of the season – along with two bad ones. His good starts show the potential he has when he's on: 11 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, 3 BBs, 13 Ks. And his bad starts show how far he is from putting it all together: 3.2 IP, 5 hits, 4 ER, 8 BBs, 2 Ks.
Hitter Of The Week: Tyler Austin (.280 average, 1 Double, 5 HRs, 12 RBIs, 0 BBs, 7 Ks)
Austin continues to rake, as he earns 'hitter of the week' honors for the second consecutive week. Last week he hit .375 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer and 2 steals. This week, his batting average dropped to .280, but he belted 5 home runs in 6 games, to go along with 12 RBIs.
The downside to Austin's big week was his 0:7 BB:K ratio, which brings his ratio to 4:18 on the season. He's batting .358, and he's hit well everywhere he's played in the Yankees farm system. However; his extremely high BABIP, paired with his low LD percentage suggest his high batting average may be unsustainable as he reaches the upper levels. His raw power is intriguing, but he's going to have to cut down on the Ks and increase the walks as he progresses through the system.
Top Prospect Spotlight: Dellin Betances
Betances, whose struggles we spotlighted last week, had a bounce-back week with one of his best starts of the season. He went 5 innings against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, allowing only one hit and one run, while striking out three. Although he earned the win, his control problems continued, as he issued 4 walks. Lehigh Valley is also one of the worst-hitting teams in the International League.
With the decent start, Betances' ERA dropped to 7.25 on the season. He still has more walks (21) than strikeouts (19) in 2012. As one of the Yankees top prospects coming into the season, his stock is way down until he figures out his control issues.
Top Prospect Spotlight: Mason Williams
With Betances struggling and Manny Banuelos on the DL, Williams is arguably the Yankees top prospect at this time. The 20-year-old outfield prospect – a fourth round pick in 2010 – has as high of upside as any position player in the Yankees system. He's a stud athlete, who's known for his defense and speed.
In six games this week, Williams hit .320 with 2 doubles, a homer and 2 walks. His trip slash on the season is .319/.347/.462. He has 8 steals in 9 attempts and an impressive BB:K ratio of 4:4. This will be his first full season in pro ball, and he's extremely raw in most areas of the game, so he's a ways away from the bigs. Regardless, he's a must-follow for any Yankee-prospect enthusiast.