8 Cardinals we were wrong about to start the season
2. Tyler O'Neill
O'Neill came into this season with high expectations. He spent the offseason adjusting his workouts for more running and plyometrics. The result was to allow him not to get injured as much while running the base path and diving for balls in the outfield.
It was a bit of a head-scratcher when the scrappy athlete was publicly criticized by manager Oli Marmol and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak for not hustling while rounding third base on a play that could have scored a critical run. It was a rainy evening, though, and O'Neill held up to avoid injury - something he'd been working on all offseason.
O'Neill thought the matter should have been discussed less publicly but maintains he works hard to stay healthy and available.
Now, O'Neill must be frustrated as he's landed on the injured list with lower back issues.
When he's healthy, he struggles to find consistency at the place, and as mentioned with Carlson, he's trying to find his place in a crowded outfield. While he's been a Gold Glove winner in left field, the organization attempted to shift him to center field. Over the past couple of weeks, he had switched back to left field, splitting time with Alec Burleson and being the team's designated hitter.
Hopefully, he can reset while on the injured list and come back as the player the team needs. So far this season, he's hitting .228/.283/.337 with an OPS of .620 in 29 games. He's got 21 hits, seven walks, a stolen base, four doubles, two home runs, 12 runs, and six RBI.
The Cardinals need a healthy, confident O'Neill. Here's hoping the team gets him back, and soon.