Kansas City Royals outfield prospect Tyler Hill put together a very nice final month of the season after being signed late in the year.
The Kansas City Royals made a late season acquisition that could pay dividends in the long run. Tyler Hill, a former 19th round pick by the Boston Red Sox in the 2014 MLB Draft out of Delaware Military High School in Wilmington signed with the Royals in August after playing 40 games with the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
Prior to that, Hill had reached High-A with the Red Sox in 2018 and slashed 0.254/0.348/0.312 with 20 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run and 38 RBI’s in 124 games. He was designated for assignment by the Red Sox, claimed by the Tigers, and immediately traded to the Yankees. With the Yankees High-A affiliate earlier this season, Hill slashed 0.242/0.313/0.362 with 3 doubles, 5 home runs, and 20 RBI’s before being released.
In 21 games with the Royals, he slashed an impressive 0.403/0.451/0.528 with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run and 9 RBI’s, while helping Wilmington win their first Carolina League Championship since 1999. I had the chance to catch up with him about his amazing journey thus far.
Q: Can you walk us through your journey to how you ended up with the Royals?
A: Well I got Rule V drafted in the minor league portion this offseason by the Tigers but was immediately traded to the Yankees so I spent spring training with the Yankees played the first half in Tampa (High A) then was released. From there I got signed by the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the American Association and played pretty well with them and one day I got a call from the Royals and the rest is history.
Q: Would you say the Royals had the most interest in you or were there other teams that you thought might have a better shot at landing you? What’s been your overall impression of the organization thus far?
A: Royals were the first team I heard from while playing in Indy ball and I was asked if I wanted to come play at home in Wilmington. So it was a no brainer for me.
Q: You performed well in 21 games for High-A Wilmington. What do you think ultimately led you to have a solid finish to the regular season and playing well in the postseason?
A: Statistically I started out a little slow first 3 weeks or so into my season but I never had any doubts in my abilities. I felt very comfortable at the plate and from the beginning, once I got some momentum and some more at-bats, it really started to show.
Q: You’ve been successfully able to avoid striking out very much wherever you have been (just 5 in those 21 games). What is so good about your approach at the plate that you’re able to avoid swinging and missing?
A: I think what helps me so much with my plate discipline starts in my offseason work initially, and my mindset at the plate is obviously always trying to do damage but being aware that when I get to two strikes putting the ball in play and using my legs benefits my game a lot.
Q: What was it like for you personally to experience the championship run for Wilmington?
A: Had a lot of pressure but at the same time to me, it was good pressure. I was just blessed to be brought on to a team with such great talent but ultimately it was amazing knowing that I was competing for a championship in my home town.
Q: Do you have any plans to play winter ball this offseason? If not, what will you specifically work on to keep improving your game?
A: My plan would be to play winter ball it’s just been extremely difficult finding a job so hopefully someone recognizes what I’ve been doing and picks me up. But I will always work on my hitting obviously but most importantly I have to keep my defense at a high level and is something I’m always looking to improve.
Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals and who would you consider a good friend on the Wilmington squad?
A: I wouldn’t say I have any specific rituals, just your typical stretching and activating, early work, and studying what the opposing pitcher has that day. But as for good friend on the Wilmington squad, it’s tough to say. When I joined the team the guys were very close. That was a huge part of being so comfortable playing with the Blue Rocks. They brought me into their brotherhood so everyone was pretty close to one another. That’s how I knew this team was special.
A special thank you to Tyler (@4_RealHill) for taking the time to speak with me!