Friedl is the 271st former Northwoods League player to debut in MLB
Rochester, Minn. – Former St. Cloud Rox outfielder TJ Friedl made his Major League debut for the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Friedl is the 271st former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.
Friedl, who played collegiately at the University of Nevada, played for the St. Cloud Rox in 2016. After playing for the Wolf Pack, he signed with the Reds, receiving the largest bonus ever given to an undrafted free agent at $735,000. Mistakenly believing that he needed to play college baseball for three years, rather than attend college for three years, to be eligible for the Major League Baseball draft, Friedl did not consider being drafted an option.
In 2016 with the Rox, Friedl played in 16 games and hit .373 with two doubles a triple and 11 runs driven in. He stole 12 bases and scored 15 times.
TJ’s time in the Northwoods League was featured during the League’s 25th Anniversary Season in 2018. His feature can be found here: TJ Friedl Inks Record Deal
Friedl began his professional career in 2016 with the Billings Mustangs of the Short-Season A Pioneer League. He played in 29 games and hit .347 with three home runs, 11 doubles and two triples. He drove in 17 runs, stole seven bases, and scored 24 times.
Friedl started the 2017 season with the Dayton Dragons of the Lo-A Midwest League. After 66 games in Dayton, he was promoted to the Daytona Tortugas of the Hi-A Florida State League. For the season he hit a combined .273 in 114 games with seven home runs, 26 doubles and eight triples. He stole 16 bases, drove in 38 runs, and scored 62 times.
For the 2018 season, Friedl began the year in Dayton and was then promoted, after 64 games, to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos of the AA Southern League. Between the two clubs he played in 131 games and hit .284 with five home runs, 20 doubles and seven triples. He walked 66 times, stole 30 bases, and drove in 51.
Friedl spent the 2019 season with the Chattanooga Lookouts of the AA Southern League. He played in 65 games and hit .235 with five home runs, 11 doubles and four triples. He stole 13 bases, walked 29 times and drove in 28 while scoring 38 times.
Friedl was hitting .264 prior to his call-up to the Reds. He had played in 113 games with the Louisville Bats of the AAA-East League and had hit a career-high 12 home runs and also had 15 doubles, five triples and 13 stolen bases.
In his Major League debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Friedl entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 8th inning for Art Warren and popped out to third baseman Justin Turner. In his second game on Sunday, Friedl entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 6th inning and homered on the first pitch he saw for his first Major League hit.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 28th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 270 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (LAD), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove finalist and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website at watchnwl.com. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.