Since returning from a gold-medal performance with Team Canada at the Pan Am Games to his Bakersfield Blaze, Maple Ridge slugger Tyler O’Neill has been putting on a show.
The rookie now leads the Class A Advanced California League with 26 home runs.
He has gone from the Langley Blaze to the Bakersfield Blaze, and from a high school league to the professional ranks, but his power remains impressive.
The Seattle Mariners left-field prospect didn’t get off to a great start this season. In April, he hit just .208, but he’s been improving ever since. In May, the average climbed to .233, in June .310 and for July he hit a lofty .326.
He’s now hitting a respectable .250 on the season, but has an eye popping 26 home runs and 67 RBI in 324 at bats.
The ball is jumping off his bat. In 225 first-half at bats, he hit 14 long balls. Since the all-star break he has already hit 12 in just 99 at bats.
A big power binge followed his return from the Pan Am Games, and a change in his stance.
“I just feel like I have so much more plate coverage with it,” he said.
“Now I think teams are starting to realize that I can really drive the ball the other way. They’re going to have to start throwing me in, and it just makes it easier for me to turn on balls and have general power everywhere in the field.”