St. Louis Cardinals’ Top Prospect Dylan Carlson

Dylan Carlson
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 25: Dylan Carlson #68 of the St Louis Cardinals bats during a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium on February 25, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. The Nationals defeated the Cardinals 9-6. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals have plenty of familiar faces that will see the field this year in Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt, and others. They could also potentially see at least one new face this year if COVID-19 cooperates at all with the 2020 MLB season. Before the madness, it was a popular belief that the Cardinals’ top prospect Dylan Carlson would make his major league debut this season.

High School Phenom

Carlson was drafted in the first round, 33rd overall by the Cardinals in the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft. Coming out of Elk Grove High School in California, Carlson is a switch-hitting outfielder with a whole lot of potential. He made the transition from first base to outfield his senior year.

In an interview with MLB, Carlson said, “I grew up at the baseball field. I was a little guy, a natural right-handed hitter, and I saw some of the older players in high school — and I’m 5 years old — I see them hitting left-handed, so I just start hitting left-handed, too. Ever since then, I’ve just been switch-hitting.”

Carlson’s 36-game senior year got the attention ofrom scouts around the league. As a 4-year varsity starter he carried a high school career batting average of .322, which rose every year. In his senior season, he hit .406 with nine home runs.

Carlson also saw the mound some in high school. He had 11 appearances and held a 1.44 ERA. However, with his success at the plate and in the outfield, the Cardinals were certain he should be an everyday starter. He has been playing right field, but it is uncertain where he might fall for the Cardinals with a vacancy in left.

Minor League Improvements

Coming right out of high school, Carlson entered the minors as a 17-year-old. Several years of development got his talent to where he is now at 21. In 2019 he stuck to the left side of the plate, playing in both AA (Springfield Cardinals) and AAA (Memphis Redbirds) in the Cardinals organization. He finished the 2019 season hitting 26 home runs, 68 RBI’s, 20 stolen bases, and hit .292/.372/.542.

Before Spring training came to a halt, Carlson was playing well and was on track to potentially see Opening Day. He had 32 at-bats and was hitting .313. Dexter Fowler, on the other hand, didn’t see his average come above .100 before play stopped. Many St. Louis fans were hoping to see Carlson out there on Opening Day.

Major League Debut

It’s easy to over-analyze early stats, especially in Spring training, but Carlson looked ready for the jump to the majors. However, the COVID-19 epidemic might hurt his chances to see the field as soon as the season starts. With players in isolation, it leads to questioning if the front office will immediately add a prospect to the 40-man roster. But whether it’s a 52 or 162 game season, at some point, Carlson will be playing in Busch Stadium.

Even with the doubt of Carlson seeing opening day, he was still high on the boards of guys to grab in fantasy baseball. Fantrax HQ has him as the 83rd best available player across all positions. If he can contain any of that momentum from Spring training, he should at least be there.

With a team that has several stars in their latter years, Cardinal fans have a shining light in a talented Carlson. He is going to be a star for years to come, and hopefully, those are in a Cardinal uniform.

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