Despite his youth

Former Langley Blaze player turns southern slugger

Tyler O’Neill is hitting a lot of home runs for a AA team.

  • Jun. 10, 2016 10:00 a.m.

Steve Ewen

Special to the Langley Advance

Maple Ridge’s Tyler O’Neill, formerly of the Langley Blaze, continues to pulverize pitchers in the double-A Southern League.

The Jackson Generals outfielder, a Seattle Mariners prospect, drove in all of his team’s runs in an 8-4 victory over the visiting Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Wednesday. A 2013 Province Head Of The Class member, O’Neill was 3-for-4 on the evening, including a walk-off grand slam.

The eight RBIs were one shy of the league record. Five players, including Jose Canseco, share the standard. Going into Thursday action, O’Neill was the league’s top active hitter, with a .332 average. The Langley Blaze product also led the circuit in RBI (51) and was tied for second in home runs (11) through his first 57 games.

Here’s a further look at the 5-foot-11, 210-pound, right-handed-hitting O’Neill through numbers.

3rd – Where O’Neill, who turns 21 in a couple of weeks, comes in on the Southern League’s youngest player chart this season. Only Jake Bauers and Willy Adames, two members of the Montgomery Biscuits, are junior to him, and by just a few months. The average age for the Southern League this summer is 24.

4th – Where O’Neill came in on the Mariners’ top-10 prospect list published by going into the season. Single-A outfielder Alex Jackson, 20, was No. 1, followed by right-hander Edwin Diaz, 22, who was recently called up from Jackson to Seattle, and advanced single-A shortstop Drew Jackson, 22, respectively. Baseball America had Alex Jackson, Diaz, Drew Jackson and O’Neill in that order as its top four for the Mariners, as well.

23 – Walks issued to O’Neill through 57 games this season.

29 – Walks issued to O’Neill last season in 106 games with the advanced single-A Bakersfield Blaze. His on-base percentage was up 77 points from this last summer going into Thursday, at .393. O’Neill went into Thursday with 58 strikeouts on the season after striking out 137 times last year.

57 – Home runs through 252 career games in the minors for O’Neill heading into Thursday, highlighted by 32 last season. Larry Walker turned 21 in the winter after playing double-A in 1987. By then, Walker had played 323 minor league games and had hit 61 homers in that span. He made his major league debut in August, 1989.

– Steve Ewan is a reporter for the Vancouver Province. Read more Province stories HERE.


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