Friday, June 7, 2013

Yankees Hope For More O'Neill Bull's-eyes

Paul O'Neill was a fixture in right field for nine years in the old Yankee Stadium. Fans in the right field seats would hold signs with bull's-eyes on them, prompting O'Neill to hit a home run to them. Never mind that quite a few misspelled his last name (O'Neil).  Now the Yankees are hoping that O'Neill's nephew Michael will one day be a fixture in the new Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees used their third round pick (103rd overall) to select Michael O'Neill, the son of Paul's brother Mike. The 6'1" center fielder is a junior at the University of Michigan.

Unlike his southpaw uncle, Mike throws and bats right-handed. He was named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball and was a member of the All-Big 10 second team. As a sophomore he led the Wolverines in batting average and slugging percentage despite missing 15 games due to an injury.

O'Neill junior season was even more successful as he led the team in almost every offensive category and was an All-Big 10 first team member.

O'Neill, who will turn 21 next week, was also drafted out of high school by the Yankees in the 42nd round of the 2010 draft.'s scouting report had this to say:

Back in 2010, Ryan LaMarre had scouts checking out the University of Michigan outfield regularly, eventually going in the second round. Now it's O'Neill's turn. Paul O'Neill's nephew really knows how to hit, making consistent hard contact and spraying line drives to all fields. He has mostly doubles power, with some room to add strength, and average speed, though he's smart on the basepaths. He should be a solid average defender. It's not clear where O'Neill profiles, with not quite enough speed for center and not enough power for a corner, but his ability to hit at the college level will certainly help him on Draft day.

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