Tyler O’Neill was supposed to be the third fiddle to Goldschmidt and Arenado, but now his future is in question.
Like many others, I thought Tyler O’Neill was ready to take the league by storm this season and prove why he belongs in the conversation with some of the best in the game. Last season, O’Neill slashed .286/.352/.560 with 34 HR and 80 RBI while finishing 8th in MVP voting and his second career Gold Glove. In our 2022 Redbird Rants predictions article, I said O’Neill would be the MVP of the Cardinals and finish top 5 in MVP voting.
Instead, nothing seems to have gone the 27-year old’s way. O’Neill has only appeared in 96 games due to a variety of injuries, and when he’s been on the field, he has slashed .228/.308/.392 with 14 HR and 58 RBI, and has now landed on the IL with another injury. There have been times that O’Neill has looked overmatched at the plate, and yet he still maintains a .700 OPS, 14 SB, and is creeping up on his RBI total from 2021 in 42 less games.
Depending on who you ask, there are a variety of opinions on O’Neill. Some still believe that the outfielder has the ability to replicate his production in 2021 and that his injuries are what is holding him back, and others see his monster breakout as a fluke stretch, and O’Neill is just a really great defender with streaky power at the plate.
I remain one of the biggest Tyler O’Neill fans around, but you have to imagine the Cardinals front office will be having conversations about O’Neill’s future with the club after this letdown of a season. Let’s breakdown the good, the bad, and what the Cardinals will most likely do with their outfielder.