An Argument for Tyler O'Neill

Watching Marco Gonzales lead the Mariner pitching staff makes Tyler O'Neill's struggles even more difficult to watch. It has not all been bad though, O'Neill's defense was rewarded with a gold glove last year. Unfortunately, Tyler was not acquired for his glove. Here are some reasons that I think Tyler O'Neill will have a breakout year with the bat.

Consistency. Tyler O'Neill has only averaged around 60 games in each of the last three seasons. It is hard to get in a routine when you only play a third of the games each year. Plus, not having the confidence of the coaching staff would make performance less than ideal. Luckily for Tyler, the Dexter Fowler trade appears to open up a consistent starting role in the outfield. If O'Neill does not start at least one hundred games in left field this year, it is because he has dramatically underperformed.

The Eye Test. The least reliable of my theories of why O'Neill will perform better in 2021 is from watching him play in 2020. I could not help but to notice the in-between that Tyler seemed to be stuck in. The outside breaking ball was not being chased like it used to be (some of these resulted in called third strikes outside the zone), but the fastball was not being crushed at the same rates either. I could tell that he was working on seeing the ball better, but sometimes you can be too patient (*cough cough* Matt Carpenter).

Competition. Sometimes a little competition can bring out the best in players. When Ozuna and Fowler were in the outfield corners, O'Neill was hoping for a spot start here or there. Now, with both players elsewhere, O'Neill has a position which is his for the taking. That said, there are several other young outfielders who would are willing and capable of playing everyday in St. Louis. Maybe a little push from those players could help O'Neill succeed in 2021.

I would love for O'Neill to be the breakout player we have all been hoping he could be. Left field has been less than stellar for several seasons now. Having a capable glove in left is nice, but having a booming bat in the lineup would be even better. This is to hoping for a great year from Tyler O'Neill in 2021.

Thanks for reading, and GO CARDS!