No. 1: Tyler O’Neill
Before the 2022 season, Tyler O’Neill was a dark horse candidate for MVP and looked primed to build upon his electric 2021, where the left fielder finished 8th in NL MVP voting after hitting .286/.352/.560 with 34 HR and 80 RBI and collecting his second career Gold Glove.
Injuries have plagued O’Neill all season long, limiting him to just 59 games and any time has has gotten back into a groove, he has ended up back on the IL. With that being said, the five tool outfielder still has it in him to make a major difference down the stretch, and is the biggest X-factor for St. Louis’ chances as a World Series contender.
Goldschmidt and Arenado have been incredible this season, but the club needs another top level bat to supplement their play in order to beat the best teams in baseball. Gorman and Carlson could surely help with that, but O’Neill has proven his ability to sustain superstar level play for long stretches at the plate.
If O’Neill can even be 60-75% of his 2021 self for the rest of 2022, the Cardinals have the ability to smack around their opponents pitching on a nightly basis. The Canadian’s mix of power, speed, and elite defense makes him a valuable piece of the St. Louis puzzle, and will be key to any serious push for a title in 2022.