In the our Stealth Bomber series, we talk to players in the farm system who aren’t yet on the New York radar, but hope one day to be so.

After being drafted by the Yankees in the 13th round of the 2010 draft, Tyler Austin was hit by a pitch that broke his wrist, forcing the Georgia product to sit out the rest of the Rookie League campaign after only two games. He returned in 2011 to absolutely slay opposing pitchers, hitting a combined .354/.418/.579 between the Gulf Coast and Staten Island clubs. At Staten Island, he registered the first 6-hit game in the NY-Penn League since 2007, which earned him a NoMaas MLPW Award. Sensei John Kreese sat down with the 20-year old to talk about his debut season and his outlook for 2012.

Sensei John Kreese: Let’s start with last season. You straight killed it at the plate. What worked and why was it so easy for you?

Tyler Austin: I put in a lot work before and after games, during practice – there was an approach I wanted to carry with me into the game, taking the same swing from batting practice into the game. I didn’t want to rush anything, just stay relaxed.

SJK: At each level, both at Gulf Coast and Staten Island, you were basically the best hitter on each of those teams. That’s really impressive considering some of the names on those clubs, including a bunch of 1st and 2nd rounders. Were there other teammates that impressed you or stood out from your perspective?

TA: Yeah definitely – Cito Culver, Ben Gamel, Mason [Williams], Dante [Bichette Jr], Branden Pinder — I love watching all those guys play. Everybody plays hard. But those guys really stand out to me. Those guys are unreal.

SJK: How’s the wrist?

TA: It’s perfectly fine. No problems at all whatsoever.

SJK: How would describe the pitching at the lower levels? Do you feel like the hitters are more advanced?

TA: I don’t think there’s any advantages either way. The pitchers are just as good. Velocity is still the same. Obviously, when you move higher, the pitchers can spot better, throw more breaking pitches for strikes – but I don’t think there’s an advantage, honestly.

SJK: What did your offseason look like?

TA: Just stayed in the gym, stayed in the cages – staying in shape and keeping the swing I had during the season. Other than that, I went to few concerts, hung out with my girlfriend…

SJK: So in other words, you’re not sending girls any signed baseballs like Derek Jeter does?

TA: HAHA. No, there’s none of that. I had a few guys tell me about that story. I couldn’t believe it. He’s actually been down here [in Tampa] lately hitting and taking groundballs, stuff like that.

SJK: So have you met Jeter?

TA: No, I’ve never gone up and talked to him, or anything like that. He’s always busy every time I see him. I don’t want to interrupt his sessions.

SJK: Have you met anyone on the big club or in the front office?

TA: Andruw Jones, Joba Chamberlain…just a few guys, not too many.

SJK: Have you met Cashman yet?

TA: I have not.

SJK: Have you received word yet that you’re starting the year in Charleston (Low-A)?

TA: I haven’t heard anything yet, none of us really have. We probably won’t hear until one or two days before we leave.

SJK: Really? They don’t tell you where you’re going until Spring Training is just about over?

TA: Yeah, that’s how it was last year.

SJK: Let’s back up a bit, you were a catcher in high school and the Yankees squashed that idea from the get-go. How soon after you were drafted did you realize the Yankees wanted to change your position?

TA: Well, they drafted me as an outfielder, so I knew the catching thing would probably be out the window. I didn’t mind it. I had a feeling that it would be gone with any team that took me.

SJK: Why’s that?

TA: Just because I hadn’t caught that long. I played other positions in high school a little bit. I just figured I wouldn’t catch after I was drafted.

SJK: You played 1B and 3B last season. Do you have a preference?

TA: Not really, either one I’m comfortable with. But now, I’m back in the OF a little bit, so it’s probably going to be left field, right field, third, first…mixed all the way up this year.

SJK: What do you think you need to work on defensively?

TA: Every aspect of it, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

SJK: What do your strengths are as a hitter?

TA: I try to put the ball the other way. It helps me make contact better and helps me stay through the ball a lot longer than most people would.

SJK: What about working a pitch count and taking a walk?

TA: I feel like I’m getting better at that. I’ll definitely take a walk.

SJK: How about those stolen bases? You didn’t get caught once (18 for 18).

TA: I take a good lead and have a good idea of the count to go in, especially with the guys hitting behind me this past year. I knew they would see the majority of the breaking balls. I picked a count and just went when I could.

SJK: Alright Tyler, that’s all I got. We appreciate it, had a good time interviewing you. Best of luck this season and hopefully we can talk again.

TA: Yes, sir. Sounds great.

Many thanks to Tyler for talking to us. He is definitely one of the most personable people we’ve interviewed on NoMaas. He was really fun to talk with and has a great attitude. Make sure to follow him during the season.