Tyler O’Neill Heads to Beantown

Last week, the Cardinals traded Tyler O’Neill to the Red Sox to help alleviate their outfield glut. After a 2021 breakout, O’Neill has battled injury and disappointed offensively. Can a move to Fenway be the trigger that drives a rebound? Let’s dive into the park factors.

Park Factor Comparison
Park (Team) 1B* 2B* 3B* HR* SO BB GB FB LD IFFB Basic
Busch Stadium (Cardinals) 101 97 95 95 97 97 101 100 101 102 97
Fenway Park (Red Sox) 104 109 113 102 98 102 103 100 101 101 106
*as a righty

Wowzers, it’s almost a clean sweep for Fenway! This actually doesn’t surprise me as I knew Busch was favorable top pitchers, while I also knew that Fenway is a BABIPers dream.

Let’s begin with the hit type factors, which all favor Fenway. All of its hit factors favor hitters, while Busch only inflates singles compared to a neutral park. Fenway tied for the third best park for right-handed singles, so this move should be a boon to O’Neill’s journey toward a rebound. After posting a .366 BABIP in 2021, his mark has slid below .300 for the past two seasons. He has posted a .319 BABIP at home and .308 on the road over his career, which is a relatively normal split. Perhaps Fenway can push that home BABIP even higher.

The gap in doubles factors is even more extreme, as Fenway ranks as the second best park for right-handed two-baggers. O’Neill has been a middling doubles hitter for his career, so this move could very well drive a career best AB/2B rate. He has posted a better AB/2B rate on the road through his career. Fenway is also a great place for triples, ranking tied for fourth among parks, compared to Busch that ranks among the bottom half of the league. O’Neill has only hit three triples throughout his career, two of which came on the road. Does he set a new season best of three this year with the Green Monster’s help?!

Last among the hit type factors is home runs. Here, Fenway isn’t nearly as favorable to righties as the other hit types, but still inflates them marginally. O’Neill’s HR/FB rate surged during his 2021 breakout, but he’s fallen back to the mid-teens in the two seasons since. Still, with double digit Barrel% marks and maxEV over 110 MPH, he clearly still has big power. Despite his home park’s home run suppressing ways, he has actually posted a slightly higher HR/FB rate at home over his career. I still think Fenway will benefit his home run power and assist in a rebound of his HR/FB rate.

Next up are the batted ball type factors. They are all extremely close, so I wouldn’t imagine a park-related impact here. It’s interesting that both parks are either neutral or inflate everything, with none of the factors below 100.

Finally, we end up at the Basic run scoring factor. We find Fenway with a significant advantage here as the second best offensive environment in baseball, only lagging behind Coors Field. On the other hand, Busch ranks seventh worst. That’s quite the swing!

I think this is a significant change for O’Neill and could drive both a BABIP and batting average rebound, as well as an increased HR/FB rate. Coming off two disappointing seasons, his fantasy cost should be relatively cheap. The upside here is driven by two factors — a performance rebound regardless of his home park, plus another boost from the more hitter favorable home park. I’m a fan at his likely undervalued cost, but obviously if everyone if your league has the same idea, he’ll no longer be undervalued and a good buy.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

I like this news, just got him with pick 227 in a Draft Champions League.

Last edited 2 months ago by murraygd13