Red Wolves Find Their Catcher

Oh yes Canada! That is where the Arkansas State Red Wolves found their catcher.

Tyler Hardie, a 6-foot, 205-pound backstop from Georgetown, Ontario, has made a pledge to the Red Wolves. He is expected to complete the paperwork when he returns home next week.

He announced this decision via Twitter (@tylerhardie) this week.

A left-handed bat, Hardie had signed a letter with Cisco Community College in Texas. He played high school ball for Christ The King in Georgetown, Ontario.

"What Arkansas State's baseball program is getting in Tyler is a tremendous defender behind the plate,'' said Ontario Blue Jays coach Keith DeGrace, who played at A-State. "Tyler takes pride in his defense first and foremost. He definitely understands the importance of defense and controlling his pitching staff for such a young kid.

"Offensively, ASU is getting a kid that will grind out at bats and find a way to drive in runs. He has always had a knack of getting a big hit in a crucial time of the game. All in all I couldn't be happier that my alma mater gave Tyler the opportunity to become a member of the A-State baseball family. I strongly believe in what coach (Tommy) Raffo has been building down in Jonesboro and I believe with Tyler coming in he is going to be a huge part of the future for the next 4 seasons, hopefully only 3."

Baseball America ranked him among the top 20 candidates from Canada for the recent Major League player draft last month. He was not drafted but was ranked 19th by the publication.

He is a member of the Ontario Blue Jays baseball program that is one of the elite programs in Canada that is designed to help its players advance to college baseball in the United States.

"As catching coordinator with Ontario Blue Jays I've had the pleasure to have worked with Tyler for the last 2 years since he joined our program," said DeGrace. "From the day he joined our program as a 16 year old Tyler came in with a bit of a chip on his shoulder as he was told by a previous organization that they didn't see him as a catcher. A similar situation I went through as a 16 year old kid. Never fun.

"After watching Tyler play in our first fall instructional league game I knew the program he came from made a huge mistake. From day one in our OBJ program Tyler was one of the most competitive hardest working catchers we had."

DeGrace is a product of the Ontario Blue Jays program. Infielder Jordan Castaldo is another former A-State player from the program.

"Tyler was a member of our 16-and-under team that advanced to the AABC Mickey Mantle World Series in his first full year in our program. This past fall he became a member of our 18-under team, which is one of the most recognized amateur baseball teams in North America. Although I knew what Tyler was all about as a catcher he really opened my eyes after the 2012 Perfect Game Showcase in Jupiter, Florida. It's a showcase that is filled with all the top MLB Draft prospects and NCAA recruits and Tyler was not out of place by any means other any of the other catchers in the tournament."