On December 8th, the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox struck a deal that sent outfielder Tyler O'Neill to Boston for a pair of relievers. While it is reasonable to have mixed feelings toward O'Neill, it will be strange to see him play for the Red Sox next year.
I'm not here to analyze the Cardinals' return for O'Neill; rather, I'll discuss why O'Neill could see great success at Fenway Park next year. For starters, the Green Monster will work in O'Neill's favor on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the left field at Fenway Park is a breeding ground for extra-base hits, particularly for right-handed batters.
Fenway's Park Factor for right-handed hitters has been 106 over the last three seasons; conversely, Busch Stadium has a 101 Park Factor for right-handed batters. Perhaps the greatest discrepancy between Busch and Fenway would be for triples for right-handed batters. Park Factors calculates that right-handed batters have a 123 ranking for triples compared to just 87 at Busch Stadium. Basically, right-handed batters are typically more successful at Fenway Park than they are at Busch Stadium.
O'Neill's speed will also be helpful in Boston. Throughout his career, O'Neill has consistently ranked in the 97th percentile in sprint speed for his career (excluding 2023 due to injuries). This speed will help him cover ground in left field and hit triples off the Green Monster. Tyler O'Neill's Outs Aboverage for his career in left field sits at twelve. He has accumulated twenty-four Defensive Runs Saved in just under 3,000 innings in left field. Tyler's range, arm strength, and speed should serve him well roaming left field and on the basepaths next year.
For his career at Fenway Park, Tyler O'Neill has a slash line of .500/.539/.833 with a home run and a double. He only has thirteen plate appearances in Boston, so the sample size is microscopic. However, one can assume that O'Neill will still have success in Boston offensively.
The Cardinals received two fine relievers in exchange for a player with an injury history and a recent track record of struggles. O'Neill will be a free agent after this year, so Cardinal fans won't have to be too disappointed if he succeeds in Boston. Tyler O'Neill provided one spectacular season in St. Louis, and I for one hope he returns to his former All-Star abilities.