Just a year after being drafted in 2015, Dylan Tice is performing far above expectations. Based on his background and physical stature, no one could have seen such a run coming.
The 2016 draft saw the Cardinals select two solid infield prospects. Most notably, they spent their first round selection on Delvin Perez, an immense 17 year old talent out of Puerto Rico. Later in the same draft, the Cards selected Tommy Edman in the 6th round. With both performing nicely in the beginning portions of their careers, it seems unnecessary to pay attention to any other young infielders.
Enter Dylan Tice, who is proving that the previous statement is completely false.
In 2015, Tice truly dominated the Division 2 baseball scene, hitting .450 with 9 home runs in his final season with West Chester University in Pennsylvania. Following his impressive campaign, the Cardinals rewarded him with a 36th round selection, giving him a chance to live out his big league dreams. As any fan can recognize, however, Tice was the epitome of a long shot. Coming from a division 2 school with a 5’8″ frame, there were plenty of question marks surrounding his development. To be frank, most probably wrote him off completely.
BASE: Former WCU SS Dylan Tice called up to Class A-Advanced Palm Beach. Started season in short-A ball. https://t.co/JWsEy2bgKK
— WCU Athletics (@WCUAthletics) August 4, 2016
In his first full professional season, Tice is eliminating nearly all doubt about the credibility of his college success. Specifically, he is leading the Palm Beach Cardinals in average, currently holding a .347 average in 75 at-bats. In his last 3 games, Tice is hitting .500 (7-14), with only 1 strikeout. He is proving his worth, switch hitting and playing a solid second base. While there may have been doubt at the beginning of the season, it is now hard to question Tice’s offensive ability.
Moving forward for Tice, it will become a matter of consistency. He could do it in Division 2, and he can do it in A, but can he continue to hit at an impressive clip regardless of imminent promotions? As a 36th round pick, Tice has already shattered all expectations placed upon him as a prospect. What becomes important now is his continued response, his confidence that he belongs to be discussed along with coveted prospects in the St. Louis organization.
Most of the time, 36th round picks are selected purely to fill rosters. In this way, the more talented, followed prospects have opponents to play against. What makes the minor so awesome, though, are cases like these. With any luck, the Cardinals could experience one of the most amazing, unlikely stories in history. While it remains a mystery, Dylan Tice seems to have a knack for performance, regardless of level of competition.