Newly acquired Yankees prospect plays to fulfill his disabled brother’s dreams

Yankees prospect Jace Avina with his autistic brother Austin.

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On November 17, when the Yankees traded Jake Bauers to the Brewers, they acquired two outfield prospects, Jace Avina and Brian Sanchez, in exchange. Simultaneously, the Bronx fanbase welcomed a new devoted member to its ranks.

Jace Avina’s primary inspiration for his baseball career is his older brother, Austin, who lives with autism. He expressed that whenever he takes the field, he does so with his brother in mind, playing for him. In an interview with Daily News, he shared his enthusiasm for joining the Yankees, mentioning that they now have a new fan in his brother, who is incredibly excited about it. Jace Avina emphasized the reciprocal admiration between them, stating that while his brother is his biggest supporter, he, in turn, is a huge fan of his brother.

Brother is the inspiration for Yankees prospect

Jace Avina, at the age of 20, shared insights about his 22-year-old sibling during his Thanksgiving visit home. Fresh from experiencing the first trade in his budding career, the Reno, Nevada native cherished the time spent with his brother Austin and their parents, Jenny and Armando.

His family has been a constant support throughout Jace Avina’s initial two professional seasons, making an effort to visit him at whatever affiliate he plays for at least once a month, in addition to attending spring training.

In 2024, the family is eager to explore the Yankees’ farm system for the first time. Meanwhile, Jace Avina aims to demonstrate to the Yankees that they made a valuable acquisition in exchange for Bauers, who was considered a non-tender candidate before the trade.

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nevadasportsnet

Jace Avina reflected on the decision-making process, mentioning that he discussed it with his family and close friends while also seeking guidance through prayer. He felt strongly that pursuing a professional baseball career was the best choice for him. He expressed gratitude for the experiences he’d encountered thus far, considering it a blessing and an incredible journey. Jace Avina emphasized his eagerness to commence his professional career early on, eager to kickstart this new chapter in his life.

Who is Jace Avina

Ranked as the Brewers’ 29th-best prospect by MLB.com, Jace Avina currently holds the 30th spot in the Yankees’ system. As a right-handed hitter, he has yet to play above Single-A since being drafted by Milwaukee in the 14th round of the 2021 MLB Draft. The Brewers selected him directly from Spanish Springs High School in Nevada, where Jace Avina decided to pursue a professional career instead of playing at the University of Nevada.

Jace Avina boasted a .233/.373/.442 batting line with 14 home runs, 50 RBI, and 10 stolen bases across 99 games in Single-A during the previous season. His overall professional performance includes a .249/.381/.488 slash line with 29 home runs and 104 RBI in 163 games.

Highlighting his strengths, the Yankees prospect emphasized his versatility in all three outfield positions and his ability to get on base. Jace Avina expressed satisfaction with the development of his power since entering professional baseball.

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X-@MLBPipeline

Acknowledging the need for improvement, Jace Avina mentioned efforts to reduce his strikeout rate, which stood at 29.6% in 2023.

He shared that he has already initiated communication with the Yankees‘ hitting and defensive coordinators, actively seeking ways to enhance his skills. Additionally, Jace Avina has established contact with Yankees pitching prospect Ryan Anderson, who, despite not attending school with him, shares the same training facility in Reno at the Spanish Springs location.

Avina expressed that their relationship is very tight or that they share a strong bond. Having a recognizable presence within the organization is advantageous for Jace Avina, especially since the trade means leaving some friends behind. Although the deal caught him off guard, he is eager to embark on a new chapter with the Yankees’ organization.

Jace Avina acknowledged the initial oddness and emotional impact of experiencing his first trade, noting that it felt strange to part ways with his friends from the Milwaukee Brewers. He admitted feeling a bit sad initially. However, he shifted to an optimistic outlook, expressing excitement about the new prospects that come with joining the New York Yankees. Jace Avina considered himself fortunate to have received such a fantastic opportunity with the Yankees.

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