Former St. Cloud Rox outfielder TJ Friedl signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Reds in August of 2016. In doing so, he received the highest bonus in MLB history for a non-drafted free agent. Friedl was previously thought to be ineligible to sign that year, but it was discovered that as a redshirt sophomore he had the requisite three years of eligibility completed (2 years playing, 1 year redshirt) to be signed as a free agent. Friedl signed for a $735,000 bonus, setting the record for the highest bonus for a non-drafted free agent.
Friedl appeared in 16 games for the Rox in 2016, holding a .373 batting average. He drove in 11 runs and scored 15 runs with 12 stolen bases. There was only one game that season in which Friedl appeared that he did not reach base. Friedl also had multiple hits in half of the games that he played in.
Former Rox Field Manager Augie Rodriguez is an associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds and recommended Friedl. Throughout the League, scouts are in attendance at almost every game and the players are being evaluated on a consistent basis.
What Happened Next?
- Friedl was assigned to the Cincinnati Reds’ rookie affiliate Billings Mustangs after being signed on August 5, 2016. In his professional debut he hit two solo homeruns to lead the Mustangs to a 4-3 win. He would finish the 2016 season having played in 29 games with a .347 batting average.
- Friedl split the 2017 season between the Reds’ low-A and high-A affiliates and was named to the Midwest League mid-season All-Star team.
- Friedl enters the 2018 season ranked 16th among the Cincinnati Reds Top 30 prospects according to MLB.com.
A Message From TJ Friedl
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