LOVES PARK, Ill. – The newest Rockford Rivets is a hitter who’s been putting the ball into play almost every at-bat this spring.
The Rivets announced Tuesday that Lewis University infielder Neal Tyrell will spend the Northwoods League season in the Stateline. Tyrell is batting .438 through 27 games and has struck out just seven times in 112 at-bats.
Tyrell, who has drawn 12 walks, has also shown some power. He’s hit six home runs and has 28 RBI for the NCAA Division II team. Rivets manager Brian Smith said Tyrell’s offensive versatility gives him plenty of spots to plug the sophomore second baseman into the batting order.
“Neal may bounce around the order a bit until we really get a good idea of everyone's strengths and weaknesses,” Rivets manager Brian Smith said. “He is one of the guys on our roster who has more walks than strikeouts (nearly) 30 games into the college season. His strike-zone awareness really allows him to hit more toward the top of the lineup. I like breaking down the position players into two categories, table-setters and run-producers. Neal sits right in the middle of those two categories and it's a good situation to have guys like that in the order as often as possible.”
Last season, Tyrell hit .319 and had a team-high 53 hits. The Minooka native was named to the All-Great Lakes Valley Conference second team. Tyrell was also an academic all-conference pick.
Rockford is a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2016. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, more than 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets), Lucas Duda (Mets) and Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website, NorthwoodsLeague.com.