Cardinals: 5 players to watch out for in Spring Training

Oliver Marmol
Oliver Marmol / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
2 of 3

Jack Flaherty is poised for a comeback

Jack Flaherty is anxious to have a tremendous season to help Adam Wainwright have a big send-off in his final season before he retires. Flaherty also hopes to improve his chances as he heads into his first season of eligibility for free agency.

Flaherty had struggled since having a breakout season in 2019 when he went 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA over 196.1 innings pitched. He had 231 strikeouts over the season. The 2020 season was cut short due to Covid, but he did go 4-3 with a 4.91 ERA over 40.1 innings.

The baseball world had high hopes for Flaherty going into the 2021 season. He was pitching unbelievably until an oblique injury sidelined him at the end of May. The remainder of 2021 and the 2022 seasons were spent recovering and trying to regain form.

During interviews at Winter Warmup, Flaherty expressed frustration at not being able to help his teammates over the past two seasons. He does want to help his team, help Wainwright go out on top, and see what happens from there.

Here's hoping Flaherty has a strong season for all the good reasons.

Tyler O'Neill should have a strong comeback

Will O'Neill benefit from a new workout plan, regain his Gold Glove status in left field, and return as a solid option to follow up Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup?

O'Neill implemented a program with more running this offseason and toned down the intensity of his weight-lifting routine. This is all done in the hopes that he tones down the possibility of injury to his arms and legs.

After outstanding performances in 2020 and 2021 that earned him Gold Glove honors in left field, followed up with the ability to just crush the ball behind the Cardinal lineup's two most significant threats in Arenado and Goldschmidt, his 2022 season was just a disappointment.

After a five-RBI game in the home opener in 2022, O'Neill had several injuries that left him on the disabled list, on the bench, or in the minor leagues.

Given his new workout regimen, it will be fun to see how O'Neill looks in Spring Training. The hope is he still has the same power with added speed. This has been the desired approach for O'Neill, who enjoys lifting, which may have been to his detriment.

O'Neill will get some work in with the Cardinals before joining Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.