Name: Austin Hyatt
DOB: 5/23/86 (24 as of April 1, 2011)
Weight: 180 lbs
Acquired: 15th round, 2009 (undisclosed bonus)
Pre Draft Report: Austin Hyatt was originally selected by the Atlanta Braves in 23rd Round of the draft as a high school senior. He was recruited primarily by smaller colleges, before ultimately receiving scholarship offers from Georgia Tech and Alabama. He ended up as a three-time letter winner for the Crimson Tide. He wasn’t a particularly overpowering pitcher in college, striking out 88 in 103 innings as a senior and 208 in 240 innings overall. He garnered just a passing mention from Baseball America going into the 2009 draft, which did note the strength of his changeup.
Career Synopsis: Hyatt started his career in Williamsport after the ’09 draft and pitched extraordinarily well. Over 54.1 innings, he allowed just 26 hits, struck out 81 and walked just 12. This translated to 13.4 K/9, 6.8 K/BB, and a 0.66 ERA. He was picked for the NYPL All-Star Game and was the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Month in July. He also made a single start for Lakewood before logging six shutout innings across four appearances in the SAL playoffs.
Hyatt didn’t appear in BA’s, BP’s, or John Sickels’ prospect lists entering the season, although BA did tag him with both the ‘Best Pro Debut’ and ‘Closest to the Majors’ in reviewing the 2009 draftees. Hyatt bypassed Lakewood and pitched in 23 games (21 starts) for Clearwater. He compiled a 3.04 ERA over 124.1 innings, striking out 156 (11.3 / 9), walking 35, allowing just 100 hits and 5 HRs. These numbers led to Hyatt being named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Year. The highlight of his stint with Clearwater was a 14 strikeout, one-hit performance on May 10. According to BA, this performance prompted a rival scout to tag Hyatt as a major league prospect. Hyatt was promoted to Reading in mid-August and made four starts there. While his ERA (4.91) and walk rate (3.7/9) increased, he still allowed less than a hit per inning pitched and maintained a strikeout rate over 10.0.
Scouting Report: Below is an assessment of Hyatt’s raw tools, rated on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. The grades are my estimation based on what I’ve read and those I’ve talked to. The second number is a future projection, the first number is the current assessment
Upside: Hyatt has been very impressive thus far, although he has typically been old for the leagues he’s been in. While his fastball (91-93) and slider appear to be average, his control and changeup are both above average. He’s also a guy who gets words like “guile”, “knows how to pitch”, and “has a plan” thrown at him. Most scouting reports and prospect reviews project him as a reliever, although in the midst of his success last year, Chuck LaMar stated that his future is in the rotation. It’s likely that he will start 2011 in Reading’s rotation. It’s difficult to envision Hyatt ever being a big league starter for the Phils given the current investment in the rotation and the wealth of arms coming up behind him, so Hyatt’s path to the big leagues will mostly likely come through the bullpen or through another organization.