Getting to know New York Yankees’ second-round pick Austin Aune

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Aune’s game has been described as that of an athlete with the capabilities of becoming a five tool player. Per MLB.com’s draft tracker Aune is, “…a potential five-tool player, Aune bats lefty and has potential plus power… Aune could potentially play center field at the next level, especially because of his great speed and arm…Aune’s upside and great makeup should allow the toolsy outfielder to be picked in the early going of the Draft.”

Aune agrees that his bat is his best weapon, but also noted that there are skills he can improve on including a mental aspect of the game. He stated, “I think my best tool is hitting for average, [but] I need to work both on my speed and arm strength… I’d like to work on my hitting, not necessarily my mechanics, but my at-bats and seeing a lot of pitch[es]. I think that will really help my game.”

The Yankees are hoping that Aune's athletic abilities and speed displayed at shortstop will translate well in center field. (Image: David Minton - Denton Record-Chronicle)

Rodgers mentioned when we talked that Aune’s work ethic was excellent and that he put substantial time into strength and agility training while in high school. Rodgers feels that Aune has the “moxy” to make it in the big leagues and he could handle the pressures of New York should he make it that far. Rodgers stated that Aune “kept his head down” and went about his work on the field, while avoiding outside distractions.

Aune, when asked what his greatest strength was, answered not about his athletic ability but spoke of competitiveness and stressed hard work, “I’ve been blessed with good talent and I think that my love for the game and competitiveness really make me the player that I am. Even if you have talent you have to work hard and I try to out-work people to become the best player I can be.”

Aune, while certainly acknowledging and believing in his abilities is modest when speaking of them. I asked him when he knew he could be drafted to play professional baseball. He said, “Not really until the middle of my senior season of high school. I was just planning to go to TCU, but a lot of scouts were showing up and I was playing [well] so I knew there could be [an] opportunity [to be drafted].” To the same question, Rodgers felt he knew Aune was going to be a special player from the onset of his time in high school. Rodgers wasn’t at all surprised that Aune turned into the caliber player he is right now.

His athletic talent and his mental makeup is what lured the Yankees to Aune. I asked Aune if the pressures of playing for a franchise with a win or else attitude caused any him any apprehension. In a matter-of-fact way he answered, “I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s perfect,” and further added, “It’s been my dream to be a major league baseball player and to play for the Yankees will make my dream even better.”

Austin Aune will be making his way to Tampa, FL in the near future. I asked him if there was anything that made him nervous about the path he is about to take. Like a pro he responded, “I wouldn’t say nervous, but I’m anxious to play at the highest level that a kid my age can play and represent the greatest organization in baseball.” The Yankees picked a winner!

For a daily recap of top performances in the minors from the previous day check out Prospect Pulse on Seedlings to Stars.

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