OTTAWA- Maple Ridge, BC native Tyler O’Neill has been recalled by the St. Louis Cardinals paving the way for the 22-year-old to make his big league debut.
O’Neill and the Cardinals are in Chicago to close out a series against the Cubs before opening a three-game set at home against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.
O’Neill’s promotion comes at a time where he’s one of the hottest hitters in all of Minor League Baseball. Through 12 games with Triple-A Memphis he’s hit six home runs, driven in 18 and is slashing at a .388/.385/.837 clip. A highly regarded prospect, O’Neill came into the 2018 season as the #86 ranked prospect in baseball by Baseball America and #94 by MLBPipeline.com.
Making the promotion even more significant was the fact that Memphis Redbirds Manager Stubby Clapp, a former standout with the Canadian National Team as a player and coach, delivered the news to O’Neill.
“I was excited to be able to tell him,” said Clapp. “It’s always fun giving that kind of news but the fact that (O’Neill) is a member of Team Canada made it even more special.”
Clapp had the opportunity to coach O’Neill in 2015 at the Pan Am Games in Toronto where both helped Team Canada to a gold medal. The pair reunited last season in Memphis when the Cardinals, in a midseason trade with the Seattle Mariners, acquired O’Neill. The Redbirds capped a tremendous season with a Pacific Coast League championship with O’Neill contributing four home runs in 11 playoff games.
“Since he got here (last summer), he’s worked really hard and made some adjustments that have paid off,” added Clapp. “I just told him to go have fun (with the Cardinals) and keep doing your thing.”
Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the third round of the 2013 MLB Draft and signed by legendary Canadian scout, the late Wayne Norton, O’Neill played with the Junior National Team program in 2013 and was named MVP after a standout performance at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Taichung, Taiwan. He represented Canada at the Pan Am Games and inaugural WBSC Premier 12 in 2015 and at the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Miami.
He is set to become the 262nd Canadian all-time to play Major League Baseball, the sixth Canadian to appear in the big leagues in 2018 and the 25th Canadian to appear in a game with the St. Louis Cardinals.