Heading into the future, the New York Yankees should look no further than Tyler Austin to man first base on the regular.
The New York Yankees have a bit of a dilemma when it comes to trying to figure out who should take the majority of the playing time at first base.
Greg Bird may still be thought of as the first baseman looking a few years ahead, but the club should look no further than the man who plays with ice in his veins, Tyler Austin.
Since arriving in the Bronx alongside Aaron Judge in August of 2016, Austin has been the definition of clutch coming up with big hits when they are needed the most.
Austin is the type of guy you want up at the plate late in the game with a close score because you know he is most capable of getting something done.
In 15 career at-bats in games considered “late & close,” per Baseball Reference, Austin is slashing .333/.375/1.200 with four home runs and six RBIs. This is the polar opposite of Greg Bird, who slashes .184/.279/.526 in these same situations (38 at-bats). The Georgia-native also shines in high leverage situations as well, slashing .316/.333/.947 with four home runs in 19 at-bats compared to Bird’s .217/.362/.391.
There are many other “clutch statistics” as well that prove Austin’s superiority over Bird, but you should get the point by now.
Being clutch is great and all, but that is not the only aspect of Austin’s game which shows why he could be the better option than Bird. His versatility shows as well.
Since arriving in the majors, the right-hander has proved to be an asset to New York in left field, right field, and first base. He even has experience at third if extreme circumstances call for it.
Versatility is a key attribute that is often overlooked, many don’t realize how important it is to have a player that has the ability to contribute from multiple positions around the field.
It is for this reason Tyler Austin may never have a set home at first base because he could be a more valuable resource coming off the bench for the Yankees especially in the postseason.
Despite never being certain whether or not he will be sent down the following day, Tyler Austin shows up day after day and shows the Yankees his worth by coming up with clutch hits when they need him the most.
New York would be foolish to not realize they have a young talent who could be a staple to their franchise for years down the line.