Posted by: gravessack | September 21, 2018

Austin Powers, Baby!

When dusk was settling in the warm month of July, and when the Twins season looked hopeless, the front office put a fire sale into motion. Eduardo Escobar was traded to Arizona, Ryan Pressly to Houston, Zach Duke to Seattle, Lance Lynn to the Yanks,Minnesota Twins first baseman Tyler Austin
and finally for a gut punch, Brian Dozier was heading to California. The club’s line-up was in disrepair. For a while, second baseman Logan Forsythe, who came over from the Dodgers in the Dozier trade, looked liked he was going to be the best addition. Apparently, that was not meant to be. When the Twins traded Lynn on July 30, minor leaguer Tyler Austin came to Minnesota. Realizing the team’s state of affairs right now, he could be the best asset that they received.

Austin, having been stuck in the minors for the last three seasons, probably unfairly, was sent to Triple-A Rochester. After averaging .263 in nine games, the Twins quickly called him up on August 10, seeking a power bat. Third baseman Miguel Sano was struggling at the time. Austin, who homered 80 times in the minors since 2010, saw his opportunity to show the Yankees that they were wrong to trade him and show the Twins he was part of their future; he has not disappoint.

The 27-year-old is built like an ironman and has a powerful swing. During his Twins debut August 11, Austin cracked a home run and singled. During the month of August, he proved that he had a masterful swing. He hit two mammoth homeruns in the August 26 game versus the Athletics. Austin ended that month with seven long balls and an average of .236.

The start of September was rough for the Georgia native. In the first four games that he partook in, Austin struck out seven times, which included three strike outs in a game. Late in the game on September 5, he ran towards the dugout to catch a foul ball. Austin slipped on the warning track and injured his back; he missed four games. When he reappeared back in the line-up six days later, it took him a couple games to get his stroke back. From September 16 to 18, he had 5 hits, 6 RBIs, and a home run.

It looks as if Austin was not getting the chance he needed in New York due to an already-potent line-up. He certainly deserved better, as he performed well in limited play. That caused an uproar on Twitter, when on August 18, Austin’s dad tweeted suggesting that his son was better than Greg Bird and provided stats, supporting his thinking. Austin was embarrassed and asked his father to take down those tweets, which he later did. That might be a true statement, but as we know all too well, when dads start tweeting at random, it is never good!

However, when the dust flew away and the cheap shots simmered down, Austin said he was glad to be in Minnesota. The 6’2″, 222-pounder looks on pace to solidify a roster spot next season. With the September 12 report about Joe Mauer’s possible retirement this off-season and Kennys Vargas’s non-existence all year, the Twins need to find an individual who has both power and consistency to insert in future line-ups. Austin is the ideal player to take his spot as he has tremendous pop and plays first base. Due to an extreme uncertainly at the corner positions, the Twins should be relieved that they can control his contract until after the 2023 season.

That gives Austin plenty of time to show off his power and put people in awe at Target Field!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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