Top Bounce-Back Candidate: St. Louis Cardinals

As we head into spring training in the next couple of weeks, we'll be looking at one top bounce-back candidate for each team: a player who's exhibited skills in the past that for some reason or another, deserted them in 2022. 

For the St. Louis Cardinals, with apologies to Dylan Carlson, that top bounce-back candidate is undoubtedly Tyler O'Neill. 

After a Top 8 MVP finish in 2021, with 34 home runs, 80 RBIs and a .912 OPS, O'Neill was besieged by injuries and poor performance in 2022, playing just 96 games with a .700 OPS, 14 HR and a .228 average. 

He might even have to fight for his spot in the outfield if rookie phenom Jordan Walker is ready to break through. But O'Neill says he's ready to bring back the power this season.

"I've had a great offseason... I was working with staff in St. Louis... My training's gone to a whole new level this year."

O'Neill's hard-hit percentage was down last year, as was his ability to simply get on base (.308 OBP compared to .352 in 2021). His slugging percentage was down from .560 to .392. But with his workouts this winter, he believes he's back to being his 2021 self. 

“I really believe in what I’m doing again (this offseason),” O’Neill said. “I’m not getting away from what makes me, me.” 

Photo: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports