Friday, May 13, 2011
MLB Prospect Scouting Report: Austin Hyatt
From: Alabama (drafted in the 15th round of the 2009 draft)
Hyatt was drafted by the Braves straight out of high school but chose to attend Alabama instead. He’s had success across every pro level he experienced, striking out more than a batter per inning at each stop and earning Florida State League Pitcher of the Year honors in 2010. While his numbers are encouraging, enthusiasm for Hyatt’s future is tempered by his advanced age.
Hyatt’s fastball is fringe average. His velocity sits in the high 80s, touching 92 at its peak. It has some late movement and he commands it exceptionally well to his arm side. Hyatt’s command of the heater is crucial to the pitch’s viability and his success overall. The raw velocity and movement is not enough to get big leaguers out unless it’s well placed.
Hyatt’s best pitch, the low 80s offering garnered several swings and misses on Wednesday night. Hyatt’s arm speed on the change is identical to that of his fastball making them indiscernible from one another out of his hand. He gets terrific fade and run out of it at times, but this movement is a bit inconsistent, it comes and goes. He uses it almost exclusively as a strikeout pitch down beneath the strike zone, so it’s not something he can use early in counts to get ahead of hitter, at least not yet.
Hyatt’s slider is unimpressive. Sitting in the low 80s, it looks more like a cutter than a real wipeout slider. He’ll need to improve this pitch or find something else to get righties out. He really struggled to get right handed hitters out in the outing I saw.
The arm action is nothing to write home about. It’s not ultra-violent (like Max Scherzer’s) nor is it effortlessly smooth (like Neftali Feliz). The delivery as a whole seems very simple, easily repeatable and most of the time allows Hyatt to pitch with good control. However, there were instances when his elbow would pronate late, causing him to leave the ball up in the zone, and he’d get hit hard. He needs to iron that shit out.
Overall, Hyatt’s lacks a third pitch. Oddly, it happens to be a pitch to get right handed hitters out. While typically with two pitch guys, I’d say they’re better off in the bullpen, Hyatt’s stuff is not conducive of that sort of move. His future really depends on him developing elite command, which is possible, but unlikely. If I had to bet on how he ends up, I’d say a AAA depth guy who comes up to make a spot start here and there due to injury.