Austin Slugging His Way in NPB

The Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars Tyler Austin is have a pretty good year for his first year in the NPB. Injuries early in the year disabled him for an extended time. Now that he is healthy he has been stinging the ball. While the league leader in homers in the Central League is a battle between Yusuke Ohyama of the Hanshin Tigers and Kazuma Okamoto of the Yomiuri Giants with 25 each, Austin could be in that race without the early season injuries.

Both Okamoto and Ohyama have played over 90 games. Injuries have restricted Austin to just 45 games. Yet in those 45 games he has 17 homeruns. Project that to a 90 game season and he would be blowing away the Central League with 34 homeruns. His 45 RBIs are the equivalent of one RBI per game, which if projected to 90 games would lead the Central League in RBIs.

Tyler Austin was not much of a homerun hitter when he played in the major or minor leagues. His high in the major leagues was in 2018 when he hit 17, splitting the season between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. Those 17 homeruns were hit in only 69 games. His minor league best was also 17 when he played in the lower levels of the minor leagues in 2012.

The Bay Stars are virtually out of the playoff race in 2020. They may want to sign Austin to a contract for the 2021 season to see what numbers Austin can produce in a full season in the NPB. Or perhaps a call from a major league team would be too tempting for the now 29 year old, whose opportunities for major league time are limited.

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