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Winter league notes: Heathcott heating up in Arizona

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Not only was Tyler Austin the clear breakout player in the Yankees minor league system, he was voted the Breakout Prospect in all of minor league baseball.

The Yankees 2010 13th-round draft pick climbed from Low-A to Double-A this season, hitting .322/.400/.559 across three levels. The MiLBY Awards [2]named Austin the Breakout Prospect of the Year, but still snubbed him as a nominee for Offensive Player of the Year.

A few other minor league and winter ball notes…

[3]• Temporarily sidelined by some flu symptoms, Slade Heathcott has returned to the Arizona Fall League in a big way. On Tuesday he went 4-for-5 with two triples, a double and five RBI. Yesterday he was 2-for-4 with another triple, and his Fall League slash line is up to .295/.415/.455.

Austin Romine took an 0-for-4 yesterday, and that dropped his Fall League batting average below .300. But Romine hasn’t struck out in his past four games. He’s drawn three walks in that time and has eight total walks with six strikeouts this fall. That’s good enough for a .385 on-base percentage. He’s thrown out seven of the 19 runners who have tried to steal against him.

• Still getting time at both second and third, David Adams Fall League numbers have slipped lately. He’s down to a .226/.328/.340 slash line with three strikeouts in each of his past two games. He has four hits in his past eight games. If there’s a bright side, it’s the fact that three of those four hits have been doubles.

• Down in Mexico, Ronnier Mustelier is hitting .290/.328/.484 with three homers and four stolen bases in 16 games. He’s spent a little bit of time in the outfield, but he’s primarily playing third base.

• Maybe this brings some unwanted perspective, but Ramiro Pena is one of Mustelier’s teammates with Culiacan. Playing shortstop every day, Pena is hitting .318/.434/.568. Mustelier is the team’s regular No. 5 hitter. Pena has been hitting ninth.

• Building on his strong Double-A season, Jose Pirela is hitting .333/.434/.476 as a regular second baseman in Venezuela.

[4]Dellin Betances has returned from the groin issue that had him sidelined in Arizona. He pitched a hitless, walkless inning on Wednesday. It was hit first appearance in two weeks.

Mark Montgomery also pitched in the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday. Another hitless inning with no walks and two strikeouts. He also struck out two in his previous outing, and the outing before that. Through 8.1 innings, Montgomery has allowed two hits and four walks while striking out 15.

• The only Yankees pitching prospect working as a starter in Arizona is Zach Nuding who allowed two runs through four innings in his most recent appearance. It was actually his best outing since his Fall League debute. He has a 7.59 ERA out there. Dan Burawa is also struggling in Arizona, allowing at least one run in five of seven appearances.

• One of this year’s biggest surprises in the Yankees farm system, Vidal Nuno still rolling in Venezuela. His pitching line through five relief appearances: 8.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K.

• Not such good news for another of the Yankees minor league surprises: Pedro Guerra, the Low-A closer who was so good this year, has allowed one earned run in five of his six outings in Venezuela. He’s allowed nine hits and six walks through six innings.

• Recently re-signed lefty Juan Cedeno allowed his first run in the Dominican Winter League. Through five relief appearances Cedeno has a 1.59 ERA with three strikeouts, two walks and five hits through 5.1 innings.