So Jesus Montero is gone and so Gary Sanchez had his ups and downs in 2011, so we start talking about the incredible Mason Williams. Listen, I love Williams and his athleticism makes me drool, but we’re forgetting someone. This player, the forgotten man, he’s the same age as Williams, he stole bases at a much better rate, he hit for far more power, had slightly better contact, and maintained the same sort of walk rate. He’s Tyler Austin and no one seems to love him.
After a broken wrist in 2010, Austin split his 2011 season between the Gulf Coast League and Staten Island, where he put up a .354/.418/.579 triple slash with 6 homeruns and 18 stolen bases without a single caught stealing. The only difference I see between Austin and Williams’ numbers are the 89 plate appearances the third baseman had in rookie ball, still the majority of his season was spent on the same team as Mason where he put up arguably better numbers. Now I won’t say Austin is a better prospect than Williams, because that’s simply not true, but my concern is when I fail to see Austin on the majority of prospect lists.
Bullpen Banter had two writers come up with their own top 15 prospect lists, however both failed to list Tyler Austin in either list nor mention him in their discussions. MLB.com’s top 20 prospects didn’t list Austin until number 15, six and seven spots behind first round picks Dante Bichette Jr, who posted slightly worse numbers in a lower level, and Cito Culver, who produced worse numbers at the same level. Then there is Baseball America, Bronx Baseball Daily, and Beyond the Boxscore who didn’t even mention Mr. Austin in their top 10 or following write up. This isn’t to say these are bad sources, in fact I’ve mentioned three of my favorite blogs in the previous sentence, but I think there is a lack of hype around a player without a high draft pick or a big bonus. Of the major sources, only John Sickels gave him a good look, ranking him 9th and adding, “I don’t know why this guy doesn’t get more attention.”
The point is that, prospect lists are great cheat sheets, but there are exciting prospects that fans have to go digging around for. Tyler Austin is the one guy I want to defend the most, but perhaps you have a prospect as well. In the near future, TYA will release our own 2012 prospect list and hopefully it stirs up more discussions and names that demand more respect from us fans. *Cough* Branden Pinder *Cough* So who do you guys think is the most forgotten prospect?
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