5 St. Louis Cardinals Who Will Breakout in 2022
By Josh Jacobs
After breaking out in his first full major league season, there have been questioned raised around the league if Tyler O’Neill can repeat the game breaking offense he showed, or if there is a fall back down to earth heading his way. The 2022 season will be remembered as the year O’Neill solidified himself as one of the best players in all of baseball.
In 2021, O’Neill slashed .286/.352/.560 with 26 doubles, 34 home runs, 80 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases across 138 games. Tyler was elite against both right and left handed pitching, and saw very similar splits across the first and second halves of the season. Much credit has gone to a new approach at the plate that allowed O’Neill to go after pitches he can crush, leading to more and better contact across the board. Another offseason to refine that approach and hitting between some of the leagues best hitters in Goldschmidt and Arenado will allow him to crush baseballs once again.
O’Neill doesn’t just mash home runs though, as he is a true five tool player with elite power, contact, speed, fielding, and a cannon of an arm. O’Neill stole 15 bags in 2021 but has some of the best speed in the game, meaning he may steal even more bags in 2022, or at the very least use his elite speed to score and prevent more runs. Speaking of preventing runs, O’Neill won his second straight Gold Glove with an elite ability to track down balls in the outfield, and finished tied for fifth in the NL in assists with 5.
It would not be surprising in the least for O’Neill to be an All-Star and MVP candidate in 2022, slashing around .270/.360/.570 with 30+ doubles, 40+ home runs, 100 RBIs, 20+ SB and another Gold Glove winning season.