Austin Listi Knows It's His Bat That Counts
You won’t find 25-year-old outfielder Austin Listi’s name on any ranking of the Phillies’ top prospects, but you will find him in big league camp in February.
Despite being a 17th-round pick from Dallas Baptist in 2017 and having no clear-cut defensive position, the hard-working Listi caught the attention of the Phillies when he hit .312/.412/.502 with 18 homers, 84 RBIs and a .915 OPS between high Class A Clearwater and Double-A Reading in his first full season in 2018.
The performance earned him the organization's minor league player of the year, a trip to the Arizona Fall League and an invite to big league camp.
"Top-rounders get a lot of attention, and rightfully so,” Listi said. "They put in the work and have the skill sets to get drafted that high, and I’m happy for them. Later-round guys typically fly under the radar.
"That’s just the game. I wasn’t going to let that define me as a player. I just went out there and played my game without pressure. I had fun. Looking back, it was a pretty good first season and I’m looking forward to building on it.”
Listi played both corner infield positions and all three outfield spots during his time in college. With the Phillies in 2018, he played corner infield and corner outfield. More corner outfield is the plan in 2019. He focused on that in the AFL.
"I was told to get more comfortable in the outfield,” he said. "I played a ton there and felt like I got better.”
Listi had to make a quick impression in 2018 because of his age. It is unclear where he will open in 2019, but getting to Triple-A at some point is realistic. He is 6 feet tall and strong at 225 pounds. He hits from the right side and realizes that he will go as far as his bat will take him.
"I’m a realist," Listi said. "I get it. I’m not a Roman Quinn (type) runner. I’m not known for my defensive prowess, though I don’t think I’m terrible. I know my bat is what is going to carry me and I Iove hitting. So let’s do it.”