St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler O’Neill fires back in outfield competition

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 16: Tyler O'Neill #41 of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during game one of a doubleheader at Miller Park on September 16, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 16: Tyler O'Neill #41 of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during game one of a doubleheader at Miller Park on September 16, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Lane Thomas has been playing very well lately but on Sunday, Tyler O’Neill reminded St. Louis Cardinals fans why he’s the incumbent left fielder.

On the first installment of our “Who’s hot, who’s not” series for spring training, Lane Thomas was one of the guys mentioned as having a great first week. In the St. Louis Cardinals‘ competition for the outfield, nothing is decided yet.

At the time of writing that piece, the Cards had played just five games, but Lane Thomas was 5-10. O’Neill wasn’t too far behind that though. Eary bets for the Cardinals outfield had Harrison Bader as a lock in center and Dylan Carlson as a lock in right.

While Bader is going to be difficult to supplant in center, O’Neill’s name isn’t written down in left field yet and that would be the first place that another outfielder could break into. However, O’Neill showed on Sunday why he’s still in the lead for that left field spot.

On a day where the wind was playing tricks on the ball all day, O’Neill showed easy power on this fly ball to right that carried out.

O’Neill now has the edge over all Cardinal outfielders with his .400 batting average and 1.155 OPS. Sure, it’s still early and he’s 4-10 overall, but he’s shown more than other outfielders who have had a similar number of chances.

Right now, the outfield on Opening Day would likely be the expected O’Neill/Bader/Carlson but Lane Thomas is continuing to make his case both at the plate and in the field.

While it may have been wind-aided, O’Neill’s power is real and he looks solid so far in camp.

Next. A make or break year for Paul DeJong?. dark

There is still a lot of spring left to play and by the end of it, things could shake out differently, but O’Neill reminded fans of his pop on Sunday.

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