Here is how the St. Louis Cardinals lineup would look with Tyler O'Neill in center field
The St. Louis Cardinals lineup would look drastically different with Tyler O'Neill in center field
Spring Training games are finally upon us, and even before the action had begun, the St. Louis Cardinals were making noise about a major competition going on in center field between Tyler O'Neill and Dylan Carlson. In a surprise to many, O'Neill requested to compete for the center field job and has been training there exclusively in camp. Carlson has seemed to rise to the occasion thus far, but there is a very real possibility that he loses his job to O'Neill during camp.
Carlson had a lot going against him during his sophomore season, being unfairly singled out in the Juan Soto rumors and suffering a wrist injury that zapped a lot of his ability at the plate. Coming into Spring Training, Carlson has bulked up, and is even working with some new prescription lenses to help with tracking pitches.
While Carlson should still be favored to be in the Cardinals' starting outfield come Opening Day, the likes of Jordan Walker, Alec Burleson, Brendan Donovan, and Juan Yepez will be fighting for those corner spots if O'Neill wins the center field job.
No one can deny that Carlson is a least a high-level player against left-handed pitching, so a platoon role is the "worst" I can see him falling to. But for someone that was a top prospect in all of baseball and has been valued highly by the Cardinals organization, this would be a huge miss for all involved.
Should Carlson lose his starting role here is how it will likely impact the Cardinals' lineup to begin the season.