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PostPosted: November 1 18, 1:03 pm 
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To me it's pretty simple. If O'Neill really is a player who has a 66% contact rate in the strike zone, then how in the world do you explain his minor league performance? He would have been striking out 40-50% of the time all the way through. Instead, his minor league K rates in the high minors (especially when you consider his profile and age vs. level) really aren't extreme at all. Between 24-27% in AA-AAA as a 20-22 year old.

That's not all that crazy for power hitter at that age. And certainly indicative of a Z-contact rate much higher than 66%. I wouldn't be surprised at all if his swinging strike rate in the high minors was closer to 82-85%, which is probably about median for MLB players.

To me, it's not even an issue of what O'Neill needs to improve in order to become a good player (like Grichuk). It's an issue of him only needing to do what's shown he was capable of doing while in the minors. I have no faith that players can learn to be at good something at the MLB level that they were bad at at the MiLB level. I do have faith that players who performed a certain way at the MiLB level can probably continue to perform that way at the MLB level, within reason. I.e. we should never have said "if Grichuk can learn to walk more" he'll be a star. That happens only very rarely. But, it's perfectly ok to say, "if O'Neill can make contact at about what he did in the minors" he'll be a star. That happens all the time. Not always, but regularly.


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PostPosted: November 1 18, 1:09 pm 
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I (think) I disagree to an extent. NBA players (can) learn to become spot up shooters. Fastball pitchers (can) become junkball pitchers. Players can get better at certain aspects of their sport. I suppose having it in you to get better at your sport is like a 6th tool.


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PostPosted: November 1 18, 1:17 pm 
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We at least need to see if he can be the player he became at the end of AAA (which was a bonafied all star caliber type).

I would like to see 450 more consistent PAs in MLB before writing him off.


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PostPosted: November 1 18, 1:29 pm 
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InvincibleCakeEater wrote:
Popeye_Card wrote:
Unless his bat really breaks out, I think Bader will have a pretty limited window as a full-time player. Speed and defense peak fairly early, and he's in that peak now where we can probably ride it for a couple of seasons. If he can develop 25-30 HR power, he might be able to hang on to his early 30's. Otherwise I think he's destined to fade away to a journeyman 4th OF type starting in his late 20's.

O'Neill could still go a lot of directions. His ceiling is higher than Bader's, but his floor is lower at this point.

Austin Jackson is a pretty good Bader comp.


Probably. A bit more power and probably fewer SB's, maybe a bit worse average.


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PostPosted: November 1 18, 1:34 pm 
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Popeye_Card wrote:
O'Neill could still go a lot of directions. His ceiling is higher than Bader's, but his floor is lower at this point.


That's the common view but I'm going to take issue with it. Let's just stack some production stats next to each other:

Slash AAA (cumulative):
Bader - .270/.335/.439/.774
O'Neill - .267/.342/.562/.904

Slash MLB:
Bader - .264/.334/.422/.756
O'Neill - .254/.303/.500/.803

K rates: AAA
Bader - 24.6% (primary season)
O'Neill - 25.6% (cumulative in StL)

K rates: MLB
Bader - 29% (z-contact% - 84%)
O'Neill - 40% (z-contact% - 66%)

Defense: MLB UZR/150
Bader - 17.2
O'Neill - 24.1

MLB actual WAR per PA projected to 600:
Bader - 4.9 WAR
O'Neill - 5.5 WAR

Now, don't read too much into those numbers individually. But, the overall picture they paint does not show O'Neill as someone whose floor - based on MiLB and actual MLB performance -- should be lower than Bader's. In reality, what they show is that despite obvious struggles in certain key areas -- namely BB rate and contact/K rate -- O'Neill was still producing at a rate slightly higher than Bader, despite a solid season at the plate and all-world defense and baserunning from Bader. And if given equal chance next year, O'Neill should probably outperform Bader.

I do agree that there is probably more volatility in projecting O'Neill's floor, but I really do think that if both players performed at their floors next year, O'Neill's would be the better play. (Depending on how you chose to evaluate them).


Last edited by Fat Strat on November 1 18, 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: November 1 18, 1:44 pm 
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lukethedrifter wrote:
I (think) I disagree to an extent. NBA players (can) learn to become spot up shooters. Fastball pitchers (can) become junkball pitchers. Players can get better at certain aspects of their sport. I suppose having it in you to get better at your sport is like a 6th tool.


I'm not saying it can't happen in the majors. It just almost always doesn't happen -- so regularly that you absolutely can't plan on it or even really hope for it -- or we didn't dig deep enough into a player's minor league profile to recognize that it was there all along. That's true of, say, Grichuk who we always hoped would develop a better eye and he hasn't. And Matt Carpenter who arrived with the rep of being a slap hitter, despite showing consistent power in the minors. He found his MiLB power at the major league level and managed to enhance it later. (But, it was always there).

To be perfectly honest, almost every player in the minor leagues right now is only one or two relatively small adjustments away from being good MLB players. They just need to walk fewer batters, gain a few MPH, get a little more command ... or make a little more contact, walk a little more, or get a little more range defensively. The fail rate is crazy high, though.


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PostPosted: November 1 18, 2:22 pm 
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I am interested to see what kind of impact our new hitting coach has with O'Neill.


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PostPosted: November 1 18, 7:03 pm 
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O'Neill might be the most differently viewed player on the team. Some people have high hopes and expectations and others are writing him off. It seems like almost everyone has a strong opinion of him, one way or the other.


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PostPosted: November 2 18, 7:40 am 
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I am interested in seeing what O'Neill can do but he seems like a gamble. Why gamble? I'd rather have more of a sure thing. If the Cardinals already had a lot more "sure things" around the roster, I'd feel better about gambling on a position or two.


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PostPosted: March 6 19, 2:14 pm 
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He should break camp as a starter.

Only hits XBHs and is drawing walks. He has speed, arm, and glove too.


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