These three position duels on the St. Louis Cardinals are worth monitoring during Spring Training.
With Spring Training about to start, the St. Louis Cardinals have a few questions on the roster that they'll need to address, and among those are battles for playing time at three positions. I'll also add my predictions of who will emerge as the frontrunners at these positions.
Tyler O'Neill created a stir when the Cardinals mentioned he would be vying for the team's starting center field job, which Dylan Carlson handled last year. O'Neill mainly played left field, a position that is likely to go to Jordan Walker when he receives his seemingly inevitable promotion this season.
The Cardinals are trying to light a fire under Carlson, who scuffled to a tune of .236/.316/.380 last season but whom the Cardinals remain high on. Injuries ravaged O'Neill's season, and he will try to return to the All-Star caliber form he showed in 2021. O'Neill's injury history could make center field a risky proposition given its more demanding nature, and while his fielding routes aren't crisp, his elite speed makes up for it.
Prediction: O'Neill plays most of the games in center field. I think the main reason for this is that Walker will be the left fielder in the future, and I don't see Carlson having as high a ceiling as O'Neill. If Walker replaces one of the outfielders, it seems more likely that it's Carlson, and O'Neill would have the benefit of having played in center field more often if that occurs.