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Aune Trying To Slow Things Down
New challenges awaited Aune in 2012 when he broke his vision of becoming a Division I quarterback for Texas Christian University to pursue another dream; the dream of a professional baseball career.
The young athlete would have been drafted as an outfielder for any other organization, but for the Yankees Aune would first began his professional career as shortstop. Although Aune played shortstop for the majority of 2012 for the Gulf Coast League, his speed and arm have landed him a position in right field this 2013 GCL season.
"I just got moved to right field a couple of weeks ago," Aune said. "I feel fine about it. If I were in any other league I would've been drafted as an outfielder and be playing outfield.
"I was really happy that the Yankees gave me a shot to play shortstop and I'm grateful for that, but they thought my talents would be best suited for the outfield so they put me in the outfield. It's been an easy transition for me."
Aune is now 19 years old and he's still trying to gain experience both at the plate and out on the field. Extended Spring Training could have gone a little better for Aune, but learning how to fail is a part of the process.
"I felt that I was up to the standards I wanted to be at this Extended," Aune stated. "To be successful you have to learn to fail. Learning to fail is apart of the game. I've been going out there and grinding all day, trying to do my best everyday, which is all I can really do."
The left-handed hitter ended the 2012 GCL season with an average of .273 and six stolen bases.
"I've been working on my swing because I kind of lost it there for a little bit so that's what we've been working on," Aune said. "We've been working on opposite field with Drew [Henson] and all the guys here. I'm just trying to find my swing and have fun playing baseball."
Right now, Aune's hitting .211 this season with an ops of .516 with ten strikeouts in just five games. He has a long swing that is a work in progress.
"Minor things weren't working for me like trying to be mentally strong and go out there," Aune admitted. "It's a grind all day and I'm just trying to do what I did to get me here. I'd say the hardest adjustment is the speed of the game.
"Having jumped from high school to pro-ball I'm still getting used to it a little bit. The guys here throw a lot harder, run faster, and hit harder. The speed is a little fast for me so I'm just trying to slow that down."
If Aune can make the right adjustments and carry them out onto the field it may be possible for him to advance in the near future. Drew Henson, the GCL Yankee hitting coach, is keeping his focus on improvement.
"Well I think we're always working to improve each day, which is the whole point of Extended Spring Training," Henson said. "You know the game is our exhibition.
"Even though you're out there competing each guy has their own specific objections that they're working on, and now that the season has started they're playing for real and just need to try and carry over some of the improvements we've made in the past couple of months."
Aune's downfall is his hands, which is likely the reason for his move to right field. Playing right field should allow Aune to rely on his athleticism.
"I feel good defensively," Aune said. "I can use my athletic ability to track down the ball so I'm focusing on outfield communication and being aware of the wall."
Henson would like to see Aune get a little more comfortable in right field.
"He's only been out there for probably three weeks, but he's a good athlete and a natural out there," Henson said.
If Aune can shorten his swing and continue to work on his hit ability, the GCL season could bring great things.
"He's been hitting in the middle our order [during Extended Spring Training], driving a bunch of runs, and just like everyone in our lineup I want to see him improve and play together," Henson concluded.
"He's got a nice, natural stroke and he's got a ton of tools. He's a well above average athlete. He's a good runner. He's got a strong arm. He's got some pop and being a left-handed hitter gives him some advantage in the box as well."
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