On Monday, Maple Ridge slugger Tyler O’Neill was named the double A player of the year by Baseball America.
In 492 at bats with the Jackson Generals, O’Neill hit 24 home runs, drove in a franchise record 102 RBI, and upped his average to .293 and on-base percentage to .374.
Those are significant jumps up from .260 and .316 when he was in single A last season, and Baseball America lauded his ability to cut his strikeouts. To show he’s not a lumbering power hitter, O’Neill also stole 12 bases, which is respectable base running.
He made a push for a triple crown, but ultimately finished fourth in batting average and second in home runs.
O’Neill received another honour from Baseball America this season, when he was selected one of the outfielders for its Minor League All-Star Team, which included players from every level of baseball’s farm system.
He had already been named the Southern League MVP.
And now he’s leading the Generals in the playoffs, with the game-winning hit in three of his team’s four wins.
In four games in the North Division Series he went seven-for-15 the plate with three homers and six RBI.
He hit a walk-off three-run homer in the 10th inning of the first game.
“What a start. This is what playoffs are all about,” he tweeted afterward.
Then hit a solo shot that gave his team a 2-1 margin of victory in the second game, and had a third homer in the fourth and deciding game of the series.
On Monday night they faced the Mississippi Braves in the best-of-five championship series opener, and it was again O’Neill with the winning hit. With the game tied in the bottom of the eighth inning, he lined a two-run double that gave his team a 6-4 lead.
O’Neill is a third-round draft choice of the Seattle Mariners.