D-backs Minors: Draft Pick Austin Byler Off To Fast Start
By Joseph Jacquez
The Arizona Diamondbacks 2015 draft class was of course highlighted by SS/2B Dansby Swanson out of Vanderbilt.
While he and LHP Alex Young out of TCU have garnered the most attention, another D-backs draftee is off to a hot start for his professional career.
First basemen Austin Byler, the Diamondbacks 11th round draft pick out of the University of Nevada has really impressed for the D-backs rookie affiliate, the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League.
Byler a native of Peoria, Arizona, was drafted for his power, and he has certainly done that in his first season of pro ball at age 22, hitting 12 home runs over his first 47 games.
In an August 9th win over Grand Junction, Byler posted his first three homer game including a solo shot into right-field in the 6th.
Byler’s overall numbers are really impressive. His 1.169 OPS and .713 slugging percentage leads the Pioneer League, and his current slash line of .336/.392/.456 suggests that he will need a tougher test soon.
Here is a quick scouting report on Byler from baseballdraftreport.com who ranked him the 3rd best D1 first base prospect before the draft.
"“Really like his approach; questionable defender; impressive raw power, at least average and likely above-average to plus; average hit tool; average or better speed; numbers inflated by environment, but production is still eye-opening; interesting spectrum of comps from Mark Reynolds to Tyler Colvin; 6-3, 225 pounds”"
The Mark Reynolds comp is scary, because the Diamondbacks don’t need another player who will either hit a home run or strikeout.
While Byler has struck out 42 times in 47 games, Byler has also walked 39 times, showing he can be patient at the plate.
His .336 average to this point at least suggests that he can also hit for contact, and his production cancels out his strikeouts. Byler has driven in 42, and 20 of his 52 hits are doubles.
Don’t be surprised if Byler is promoted to Class A Kane County, or Class A Advanced Visalia soon.
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In other D-backs prospect news, Missoula Osprey OF Jason Morozowski was named the Pioneer League Offensive Player of the Week for August 10th-August 16th.
For the week, Morozowksi hit .409/.435/.864 with 1 2B, 3 HR’s, and 9 RBI’s in 5 games.
Overall on the season, Morozowski is hitting .299/.384/.486 with a .870 OPS in 47 games.
The Diamondbacks drafted him in the 13th round after he produced a slash line of .424/.481/.790 in 55 games at the University of Mount Olive in North Carolina, a Division II school.
If Morozowski continues his to produce like he did last week, expect him to move up to the next level soon.
D-backs fans: if you didn’t already know who Byler and Morozowski are, get to know them because they are going to be part of the picture soon.