In November of 2010, Tyler Madrid’s football career ended with a torn knee ligament.
“We were playing College of the Desert. In the first quarter, as I was going to make a tackle, I got clipped and tore my right MCL,” Madrid said. “It was repaired but I just didn’t want to go back to playing football. I knew I could still play baseball, so I saw it as a perfect opportunity.”
After a four-year hiatus, Tyler is carving up the diamond. Madrid is in the team’s top three for 11 offensive categories.
“Even though I haven’t played in a while I still wish I was doing a little better,” Madrid said. “I have to understand it is my first season in college, so when I do make mistakes I am not getting too down.”
Madrid is athletic, swings for power and logs the hours on the field and in the gym to improve. But he’s an unfinished product.
“Tyler is a very strong player with a lot of potential in his swing,” said freshman catcher Bryce Harrison. “He is very raw and fun to watch.”
When Madrid went to Head Coach Don Sneddon and asked to try out he wasn’t sure how the coach would respond. Now Madrid is the Dons primary designated hitter batting clean up and leads the team in RBIs.
“I’m asking a lot of him to come and hit fourth for us as walk-on who came out in the winter and said he wanted to play,” Sneddon said.
The ball booms off the barrel of Madrid’s 33-inch red and white Rawlings 5150. During batting practice, he puts balls over the fence with ease. In the batters box, Tyler resembles Carlos Peña of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Despite leading the team with 26 strikeouts, Madrid leads the team in walks. He is developing into a hitter of the three true outcomes — a walk, strikeout or home run. Of Madrid’s 118 at bats 48 percent have resulted in one of the three.
“He is a very good athlete, but raw with baseball skills,” Sneddon said. “He has some skills that you cannot teach, like strength, bat speed and eye-hand coordination. But he hasn’t been around the game enough for all of that to come together.”
The lefty slugger approaches the game with a confident casualness.
“On the baseball field he is a hard working kid. He really enjoys the game,” said freshman outfielder Geoff Schuller.
Sometimes Madrid is too relaxed. He stands in the box, taking first pitch strikes and
“One day he was talking about how he never swings at the first pitch. I told him to swing at a first pitch one time, it worked out and he ended up roping a double. He came back to the dugout just laughing,” Schuller added.
Sneddon speaks to Madrid after at bats to provide some insight for developmental purposes.
“We are talking about how pitchers are going to throw to him, pitch selection and going up to the plate aggressive,” Sneddon said.
Multiple Major League Baseball teams have inquired about the 21-year-old.
“I’ve spoken to the Dodgers, the Nationals and the Mets,” Madrid said.
The book is still unfinished on Madrid, but the potential is evident.
“He could go on and get drafted some day, if he works with it,” Sneddon said.
OTHER DONS’ BASEBALL STORIES FOR SPRING 2012:
Dons win five consecutive Pitcher of the Year Awards
The Undertaker and The Clough Factor
Baseball: Scouting report.
Rising phenom: Andy Peterson
Athletic profile: Gary Apelian
Scouting report: Pitching
Diamond Kings of Santa Ana
OTHER DON’S BASEBALL GAMES COVERAGE FOR SPRING 2012:
Game coverage 4/2/2012: Wilson throws 3rd complete game in Dons victory
Game coverage 3/27/2012: Dons escape Hornets’ nest
Game coverage 3/14/2012: Dons overpower Gauchos
Game coverage 3/6/2012: Pirates sink Dons
Game coverage 3/3/2012: Dons sting Hornets
Game coverage 3/1/2012: Tigers pounce early in conference opener
Game coverage 2/25/2012: Seven pitchers combine on three-hitter for Dons’ win
Game coverage 2/24/2012: Dons beat Huskies to mush
Game coverage 2/23/2012: Dons avenge loss in hit parade
Game coverage 2/16/2012: Dons capitalize on Falcon errors
Game coverage 2/11/2012: Doubles allow Dons to tie up Brahmas