Detroit Tigers should make this trade with the St. Louis Cardinals
Detroit’s side of the (hypothetical) deal
In return, the Detroit Tigers would receive three pieces in outfielder Tyler O’Neill, starting pitcher Ryan Helsley and reliever Ryan Sherriff.
The obvious centerpiece is O’Neill, who could very well step into a Major League starting lineup by the time Opening Day 2018 rolls around.
This would represent a significant change from Detroit’s top outfield prospects, Mike Gerber and Christin Stewart, who started 2017 with Double-A Erie.
Of the two, only Gerber was promoted to Triple-A Toledo—and he logged just 18 plate appearances late in the year with the Mud Hens.
While it wouldn’t be a shock to see either in the Majors at some point next season, they may not be as ready as O’Neill.
The outfielder mashed 31 home runs, 26 doubles and three triples to go along with 95 RBI, 77 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 557 plate appearances split between Tacoma and St. Louis Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.
What’s more, his ISO topped .230 (.235 with Tacoma, .295 with Memphis) in both stops.
He also turned in respective wOBA stats of .355 and .348 for the two respective Triple-A affiliates.
Should the Tigers acquire the ex-Mariners outfield prospect, he’d immediately slot into the middle of the team’s lineup.
Hit him either fifth behind Miguel Cabrera and Nicholas Castellanos or sixth behind Cabrera, Castellanos and Jeimer Candelario and the production at the plate will come.
Baseball Prospectus wrote the following about the outfielder ahead of the 2017 season:
"“O’Neill’s carrying tool is his power. It’s 70 raw and if everything clicks, he has the pop to hit 30 homers in the big leagues. His power stems from his frame: he’s a big man, a workout warrior with thick wrists and forearms, and plus bat speed to go along with it. He’s capable of driving the ball out to all fields.”"
In an article breaking down the trade that sent O’Neill to the Cardinals organization, Kyle Glaser of Baseball America wrote the following about the outfielder’s defense:
"“He reads balls off the bat better in right field than left, but is an average defender with an above-average arm capable of playing both.”"
O’Neill isn’t a perfect prospect, as strikeouts are still a concern for the 22-year-old.
However, British Columbia native has a chance to be an impact player if he can put it all together.
In this hypothetical scenario, he’d slot in as the Detroit Tigers’ left fielder with Mikie Mahtook shifting to center field more often to lessen the burden on JaCoby Jones.