Chris Carter had his turn. Austin Romine isn’t a first baseman. So why do the Yankees refuse to call up Tyler Austin, especially when he’s raking at Triple-A? The situation makes no sense.
Remember in Spring Training when the Yankees let the world know Tyler Austin would have every opportunity to compete with Greg Bird for the starting first base job? Obviously, a lot has happened since then — notably, injuries to both men.
So why is it now that Austin is on an absolute offensive tear at Triple-A Scranton, and the Yankees can’t rub two nickels together at first base, that the organization refuses to call up the 25-year-old slugger?
In my opinion, Austin can play first base, both corner outfield positions and even third base in a pinch. He may not be the most agile of fielders but he’s honestly a way better defender than Bird — and as for Carter — the man shouldn’t even own a glove at this point in his career.
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Austin, who was one of the first Baby Bombers to burst onto the scene in 2016 is now officially healthy — as evidenced by three home runs in his past three games. He also added a bases-clearing double on Thursday night as the RailRiders beat the Pawtucket Red Sox 11-1.
For the season, Austin is slashing .292/.355/.552 with four homers and 19 RBI in only 96 at-bats. A huge bonus to his game is the fact that Austin has cut down on his strikeout rate — going from 37 percent in his first 16 games at Triple-A to 20 percent over the last 10 contests. If you’re wondering what Carter’s whiff rate is, it’s 41 percent — up from his career 38.3 percent.
The only evidence that points to why Austin continues to ride a minor league bus is courtesy of Joe Girardi — when he recently told Brandon Kuty of NJ Advance Media that the Yankees only view Austin as a first baseman.
To that I say: so what’s the problem then? Austin offers upside on both sides of the ball. Carter does not. I find it hard to believe that “smart baseball people” like Brian Cashman really think Carter will “tap into his talent in New York.” For whatever the reason, $3.5 million is being treated like $30.5 million.
If the club doesn’t want to release Carter because they have no idea when or if Bird will return, then fine. But Austin can’t do much more at Triple-A than he already has. The Yanks need to make a move, fast — before they risk stunting this kids growth any further.