Despite team struggles, individual performers on the St Louis Cardinals are still prime to make it to the 2021 All-Star Game in Denver.
The All-Star break may be exactly what the St. Louis Cardinals need to reset and get their season on track. But will they have any players participate in the All-Star week?
In the latest release from MLB, Yadier Molina ranks second among catchers with 568,232 votes (Buster Posey is first with 1,079,454 votes). Nolan Arenado is second among third basemen with 546,544 votes (Kris Bryant is first with 1,033,181 votes). And Tyler O’Neill ranks ninth among outfielders with 281,528 votes.
It’s hardly surprising to see either Molina or Arenado garnering so many votes. Even at 38, Molina has proven to be one of the best catchers in baseball, hitting at a solid rate and playing otherworldly defense while continuing to flash his elite baseball IQ. Arenado has been almost as advertised, quickly shedding any doubts whatsoever that his success was in large part because of Coors Field, as he’s hit .271/.320/.502 with 13 home runs and 47 RBI in 269 at-bats while posting a 130 OPS+, which would be the third-best of his career.
But that O’Neill is this high in voting shows just how far he’s come this season. He’s playing elite defense in the outfield and hitting .276/.321/.591 with 15 home runs and 34 RBI, which is actually better than Arenado. Still, it’s generally viewed as unlikely that O’Neill will make the All-Star team, though it would be very interesting to see him participate in the Home Run Derby at Coors Field. Watching O’Neill compete against Shohei Ohtani and the other elite power hitters in baseball in the best environment to hit homers is … let’s just say, grab your popcorn.
There are still a couple weeks for voting, but it’s very likely that Molina and Arenado are the only two players representing the Cardinals in mid-July. But that O’Neill has made it this far shows just how wise the Cardinals were to bet on him this season and why the organization is in good shape going forward with both he and Dylan Carlson headlining their outfield.