Maple Ridge slugger Tyler O’Neill has been traded by the Seattle Mariners, as the Major League Baseball club moved the second-ranked prospect in their organization in a move to shore up its pitching staff.
“First off, I’d like to thank the Seattle Mariners for the opportunity to pursue my baseball endeavors four years ago,” O’Neill said in an Instagram reaction to the trade. “I’ve met a numerous amount of great and respectable players and coaches during my time and wish them nothing but the best. Cannot thank everyone enough.
“That being said, this morning I found out I was traded to St. Louis to continue my career as a Cardinal. I am beyond excited to start a new chapter with the Cards, and to continue my career and dreams. Time to get to work.”
O’Neill had continued hammering opposing pitching this year, after being promoted to the Triple A Tacoma Rainiers. The outfielder led his team with 19 homers, and was second with 56 RBI at the time of the trade, through 93 games. He also had a .244 batting average in 353 at bats, which reflects the difference in minor leagues levels – with the Double A Jackson Generals he hit .293, with 24 homers and 102 RBI last season. He was the Southern League MVP of the regular season and championship series.
O’Neill, 22, is a former Langley Blaze standout, and was drafted in the third round in 2013, turning pro right after graduating from Garibaldi Secondary in his home town Maple Ridge.
He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals organization, and is now playing with the Triple A Memphis Redbirds, getting into his first game on Sunday. Coming the other way was left handed pitcher Marco Gonzalez, who was drafted in the first round in 2013.
He was red hot when the trade went down. In his final week in the Mariner’s farm system he slugged five home runs and had three multi-hit games. That included a final game that saw him blast two homers and drive in five runs.
“The one thing that we talk a lot about is finding those bats,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “This is a player that has a lot of offensive upside. And at 22, he’s accomplished a lot already in Triple-A. So for us, it adds to our offensive depth. [It’s] not that we’re not proud of our outfield depth, but we do think this offensive profile is unique. [He has] middle-of-the-order potential.”
Pundits say O’Neill should make a push for the opening day roster in 2018.