Scout’s View: Tyler O’Neill

Tyler O'Neill (Photo by Bill Mitchell) Tyler O’Neill (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

SEE ALSO: Scout’s View Archive

Former Phillies scout Therron Brockish reprises his role for BA with weekly scouting reports from the Arizona Fall League. Brockish has more than 20 years of experience as a college coach and as an amateur scout. He served as an assistant coach at Wayne State, Ball State and Arizona Christian and as head coach at Iowa Western CC, and he worked for six years as an area scout with the Philadelphia Phillies, signing big leaguers Jason Donald, Tuffy Gosewisch and Lou Marson during that time.

Hitting 50
Power 60
Fielding 55
Speed 50
Arm 50
Based on 20-80 scouting scale—where 50 represents major league average—and future projection rather than present tools.

Mariners outfielder Tyler O’Neill has picked up in the AFL where he left off after scorching the Southern League this summer. After tearing up high Class A Cal league last summer, O’Neill, 21, had a banner year in Double-A, slugging 24 homers (second in the league) with a league-high 102 RBIs and 250 total bases. He won MVP honors and helped lead Jackson to the SL championship, going 13-for-29 with three homers and nine RBIs in the playoffs.

He has shown similar ability in Arizona. On Oct. 17 in the AFL, he smashed a 420-foot homer to left center, laced a double to right center, hustled down the line on a ground ball to the left side and in the eighth inning was intentionally walked with a runner at third base and two outs.

Batting Future Grade: 50

Most power hitters in today’s game accumulate a lot of strikeouts to go along with power. O’Neill is no different. The past few seasons, he is averaging a strikeout per three at-bats, though his strikeout rate has improved from 32 percent in low Class A in 2014 to 30 percent in ’15 to 26 percent in Double-A in 2016.

On this viewing, I saw him do a nice job of taking a 92 mph fastball into right center for a double. His swing can get a little long and he still has a tendency to chase out of the strike zone. He has tremendous bat speed and leverage to his swing. As he continues to develop and mature as a hitter, he has the potential to hit in the .260-.280 range. He is still young for the level of pitching he’s facing.


 Future Grade: 60

O’Neill has tons of raw power in batting practice. He hits the ball to the big part of the field as well as the pull side. How much that transfers into the game remains to be seen, but he’s probably good for 20-25 homers and maybe even 30 on the upper end in 600 at-bats. He looks like he’s also good for 30-plus doubles a year.


 Future Grade: 50

O’Neill is a surprising runner for a power bat. I saw him get down the line in 4.25 seconds on a ground ball. I saw him hit a triple and he got around the bases pretty good. He has enough speed to steal 20-plus bases if necessary early on in his career, at least. This speed also plays in the outfield as he showed the ability to track down balls in the gap.


 Future Grade: 55

Professional outfielders who play right field are mostly there for their bat—their power—and typically have the better arm of the three outfielders. O’Neill profiles well in right field. He can cover some ground with his speed, makes the routine play and will be a steady/solid right fielder.


Future Grade: 50/55

O’Neill displayed an average/solid average arm in right field. His throws were true with plenty of carry. He definitely has enough arm to be an everyday guy in a major league outfield.


O’Neill has all the tools to be a solid-average outfielder at the major league level with the ability to hit in the .260-.280 range with doubles and home-run power. At just 21 years old, he still has some learning to do. If there’s an area where he could struggle, it’s at the plate where higher-level pitchers will be able to expose some of the free-swinging and holes in his swing. His success in the AFL should be somewhat of a gauge of his readiness to move forward. I suspect he will be invited to major league spring training in 2017 with a legitimate shot to make the club at some point in 2018.

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