How well will Tyler O'Neill hit?

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This topic contains 37 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Brian Walton Brian Walton 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #75081
    Brian Walton
    Brian Walton
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    gscottar, I don’t know why you cannot post – unless it is really, really, really long. jager bumped into that earlier in the year, but I do not know the exact size limitation. It has to be quite big, based on other posts that are allowed here.

    Hopefully, you have a copy so you can either try it in piecemeal or shorten it.

    #75082
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    SoonerinNC
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    O’Neill is the last Cardinal prospect that I would trade. He had some ups and downs as a Cardinal in 18 but was better than last year. He also proved to be a good late inning defensive alternative. The potential upside for him is far to important to risk losing unless there is a deal we can not refuse. I hold out quite a bit of hope for one who improves their game at high levels.

    But most important he improved his plate discipline, his average and his power output at Memphis. We have to put him out there and let him either grow or go. We are better served to get increased offensive output from third base where we now have an above average defender and below average offensive player.

    #75086
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    gscottar
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    No, it really isn’t that long. I keep getting this message:

    ERROR: Your reply cannot be created at this time.

    #75116
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    Bob Reed
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    “O’Neill is the last Cardinal prospect that I would trade. He had some ups and downs as a Cardinal in 18 but was better than last year. He also proved to be a good late inning defensive alternative. The potential upside for him is far to important to risk losing unless there is a deal we can not refuse. I hold out quite a bit of hope for one who improves their game at high levels.

    But most important he improved his plate discipline, his average and his power output at Memphis. We have to put him out there and let him either grow or go.”

    You summed it up well, Sooner. (Also, go Sooners. Been a fan since the Greg Pruitt/Johnny Rodgers ’71 game.) Tyler might be special. Which is why I’m paranoid that (1)Shildt won’t play him due to strikeouts, therefore (2)Mo is going to include him in a trade for Goldschmidt. With the Lovie Smith contract extension, I have re-learned once again that stupidity has no limit. Heck, maybe O’Neill will be traded straight-up for Greinke and his $105M contract.

    Anyway, enough of my whining. Here’s a summary of how good Tyler O’Neill’s minor league track record is, according to the Baseball Prospectus minor league WAR values. All WAR totals are prorated to 600 plate appearances.

    Rookieball at 17 5.7 WAR
    Low-A at 18 3.2
    High-A at 19 4.7
    Double-A at 20 4.8
    Triple-A at 21+22 5.1
    Triple-A just 22 10.3

    Across all levels, all games, 38 homers and 5.1 WAR per 150 games. And always young for his leagues.
    The only level where he did NOT play at a star level, was when he was an 18-year-old kid in Low-A full season ball. Basically a high schooler against college grads.

    Here’s a cool stat. Combining AAA and the majors, Tyler O’Neill has now played exactly 162 games for the Cardinal organization. He has hit 47 homers in 514 at-bats.

    #75117
    Ratsbuddy
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    Here’s a cool stat. Combining AAA and the majors, Tyler O’Neill has now played exactly 162 games for the Cardinal organization. He has hit 47 homers in 514 at-bats

    Bob,
    He has also struck out 168 times in those 514 at-bats. That is actually better than what I thought. That is, however, a strikeout percentage of 33%. If he plays everyday and gets 600 at-bats he is going to strikeout around 200 times. That isn’t good. It wasn’t too long ago it was embarrassing to strikeout.

    If he can cut his K rate down to about 25% that would be so much better. And contrary to what most on here believe, I am pulling for him.

    r/Rat

    #75126
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    Bob Reed
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    Bob,
    He has also struck out 168 times in those 514 at-bats. That is actually better than what I thought. That is, however, a strikeout percentage of 33%. If he plays everyday and gets 600 at-bats he is going to strikeout around 200 times. That isn’t good. It wasn’t too long ago it was embarrassing to strikeout.

    Strikeouts for hitters are like errors for fielders. They are ugly. They frustrate. We watch millionaire athletes do things we didn’t do as high school ballplayers — or not very much anyway — and it confounds us. Strikeouts and errors undermine the pleasure we take from watching baseball, the aesthetics of the sport. But that’s not the same as saying that they are of primary importance. A factor, no doubt. But not a primary one, when evaluating a hitter or fielder.

    Or to put it another way, Rat. Would you want O’Neill starting in your outfield if he fanned 220 times a year, but batted .250 with 45 homers, solid defense, and good baserunning? I would without a moment’s hesitation, because of the production. Look at the doughnut, not the hole.

    Or to put it yet another way, there’s a guy who was a lot like O’Neill, I’ll bet you remember him quite well. I’ll withhold the name momentarily and just describe the production, the shape of it.

    For the five years 1978-1982, he struck out 106 more times than any other hitter in the sport, he batted only .245, and was okay but nothing special as an outfielder. Sounds kind of useless, right? And yet he was worth 4 WAR per year, the 20th best total in the majors over those 5 years. Because he slugged over .500 and had the 2nd-most homers behind Michael Jack Schmidt (Who did indeed “jack” a few over the years).

    For those five years Gorman Thomas was a terrific player, even though he struck out A LOT. The doughnut was delicious & nutritious, despite a larger than average hole. O’Neill could be that kind of talent. It’s what he was throughout the minors.

    #75127
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    858booyah
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    We had Mark Reynolds once. Do we need him again? lol

    Unless something unreal falls in our laps. It won’t hurt to hold onto him another year. Maybe he shows enough in a time share with Fowler and 4th OF’er that we can jettison Fowler if he has another terrible season on maybe a bounce back makes him tradeable if we eat some cash. He needs to make more contact regardless and quit whiffing as much.

    #75128
    Brian Walton
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    The results are even less bad than you think, rats. The denominator for strikeout and walk rates is plate appearances, not at-bats.

    #75134
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    Bob Reed
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    We had Mark Reynolds once. Do we need him again? lol
    He (O’Neill) needs to make more contact regardless and quit whiffing as much.

    I’m glad you mentioned Mark Reynolds, Booyah. Reynolds has only had one year where his strikeouts were counterbalanced enough by his power, to where he was actually a very good hitter. That was way back in 2009, when he posted an excellent 127 OPS+. Most years, in fact every other year, I would NOT want Reynolds in my starting lineup. Okay for thunder off the bench, but that’s it.

    Tyler O’Neill doesn’t figure to be Mark Reynolds, though. Tyler was doing in AA at age 20 what Reynolds didn’t do until he was 22 and 23 years old. And O’Neill has more defensive and baserunning talent as well. There are no mediocre major leaguers with a track record like O’Neill’s. Not that I know of.

    You can’t lump all the high-strikeout guys together, all the guys who ever led the league in whiffs. If you did, then Mark Reynolds and Pedro Avarez would be lumped in with Jim Thome and Kris Bryant and Jay Buhner and Gorman Thomas and Duke Snider and Jimmy Foxx and Babe Ruth.

    I hate strikeouts, too. Swear it. But it’s counterproductive to fixate on them to the exclusion of other more important aspects of a player.

    #75160
    bicyclemike
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    One thing I like about O’Neill, other than the impressive raw power that is something you do not see in many prospects, is that he is an athlete. He is a bit bulky for a baseball player, although that has become more normal in recent years. But he has some of that “Tommy Pham” in him that was so impressive even when Pham was struggling, to where I sense the guy will be real good once he can play on a regular basis, build confidence, and get into a positive routine.

    Again, a guy like that needs a chance to play on an every day basis. The excuse that “the Cardinals cannot afford to wait for a guy to develop, as they need to win now” is weak. Bringing in marginal players in the hopes that they will bring just enough to get over the hump results in a constant cycle of chasing your tail.

    At some point, you need to either play the talented prospects, ala Houston over the last few years, or bring in the mega-bucks super star, or some combination of each.

    Neither is a guarantee of course, but the Cardinals are an organization that never doles out the multi-millions, so the decision on O’Neill should be easy.

    #75168
    Brian Walton
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    O’Neill needs to stay healthy. Until then, his physical attributes will be debated as whether they are positive or negative. There is a consistent pattern of pulls – hamstring and groin injuries.

    At this time last year, he looked to be even with Bader. Before camp, I even projected O’Neill would make the team. Then O’Neill was twice injured in Jupiter and hardly played. Bader seized the opening and off he went.

    Then during the season, O’Neill went on St. Louis’ DL twice – separate stints in July and August. How can he be trusted to start if he cannot stay on the field?

    #75217
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    Bob Reed
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    “At this time last year, he looked to be even with Bader. Before camp, I even projected O’Neill would make the team. Then O’Neill was twice injured in Jupiter and hardly played. Bader seized the opening and off he went.
    Then during the season, O’Neill went on St. Louis’ DL twice – separate stints in July and August. How can he be trusted to start if he cannot stay on the field?”

    It is too bad that Tyler wasn’t healthier in 2018. Like yourself, Brian, it felt to me like he was prohibitively injury-prone. But then I checked the numbers, and between AAA and MLB he did play 125 games in 2018. For context, Dexter Fowler has averaged 126 for his career, and Bryce Harper 132. They’re certainly considered full-time players — if somewhat brittle ones.

    And I would also add that Tyler played nearly 95% of his team’s games in both 2016 and 2017, in Double-A and Triple-A. So I would argue that while there’s some recent evidence of fragility, there’s at least equal evidence of very good durability as well. So I’m not worried. Yet.

    Speaking of frail outfielders, Larry Walker, Reggie Sanders, and Jim Edmonds all arrived in St. Louis with track records of breaking down physically. (Edmonds had averaged just 119 games over his previous 5 years, Walker 127, and Sanders 126.) But of course they were all obviously talented enough that it was clearly worthwhile making a commitment to them, playing them 25 times a month as long as they stayed healthy. While they’re highly unlikely to ever be as outstanding as that trio, I’d like the Cards to play Bader and O’Neill as long as they’re healthy too. Bader’s glove and O’Neill’s bat make for tantalizing upsides.

    #75220
    Brian Walton
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    Four injures are four injuries, all of which occurred at the MLB level. I am not labeling him anything but I will always suspect that had he been able to put in a full spring, both his and Bader’s 2018 would have come out very differently. He needs to put that behind him and get off to a fast start in 2019 or risk getting buried again – unless of course, they bring in a veteran OF. Then he is at best the #4 OF – or #5 depending on Fowler.

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