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St. Louis Cardinals Top Prospects: #18

Every other day over the next two months, John Nagel and Kyle Reis will announce a new prospect on The Redbird Daily’s Top 30 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect List. For each prospect, John and Kyle will reveal where that prospect landed on their personal lists and also few thoughts on the prospect. We hope you enjoy!

Prospect #18: Dylan Carlson – 1st Round, 2016

2016 Stats: Gulf Coast League – 251/313/718, 183 AB, 12 Doubles, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 16 Walks, 52 Strike Outs

Kyle Reis (Prospect #18 On Personal List)

I really like Dylan Carlson. I really do. But I’m going to use part of my time, instead, to talk more about our #22 prospect Bryce Denton.

I’m bringing Denton into this conversation because I want to talk about something that happens a lot when you follow prospects. I call it “falling in love with the shiny new toy”.

On my personal list, I had Denton ranked 16th and Carlson ranked 18th. There are a lot of similarities between the two. Both were drafted early on in the draft by the Cardinals. Both were considered a bit of a reach at the spot they were drafted as the Cards tried to work their draft pool-allotment. Both are considered to be high baseball IQ players. Both fit the profile of Gym Rats. Both were 17 when they were drafted. Both were vocal about expressing their love for the Cardinals organization before and after being drafted by the Cards.

But Carlson is the newer model, so even though Denton was more successful at a higher level, Carlson will appear higher on most Top Prospect lists. I get it. It makes sense. It’ll probably happen to Carlson.

Now, that’s not to diminish what Carlson did during his time in the GCL. He had a far better debut than Denton did. The Cardinals used him primarily in CF during his debut season, but I think it’s a pipe dream that he stays there. I imagine that the Cardinals will keep him in CF, and the OF, for as long as possible. However, I’d like to see him transition as soon as possible to first base. I think that is where he profiles best, and the Cardinals have an organizational need for a legitimate 1st base prospect. It’s either going to be him or “Best Of The Rest” member Andrew Knizner, but the Cardinals seem intent on keeping at catcher for now.

Carlson had a bit of a strike out problem after being drafted, but it’s not something that I’m all that concerned about yet. I’m betting that he’ll make strides this season to cut those down. I also think, much like with Denton, he’ll really start to thrive when they commit him to the position that he is defensively comfortable with. Offensively, and body style, he reminds me a lot of Boston Red Sox utility man Travis Shaw. I also think that the switch hitting Carlson is very comparable to Mitch Moreland. But, ultimately, I think his developmental ceiling could reach that of Mark Teixeira. He’s going to need to really fill out and become more disciplined at the plate for that to happen.

John Nagel (Prospect #21 On Personal List)

I had Dylan Carlson slightly lower than Kyle did, but I really like him. Unlike Kyle, I am going to spend the majority of my words talking about him and not another prospect. I kid, I kid, but I see the similarities Kyle makes between Carlson and Denton.

Like Kyle mentioned, Carlson was in center field for his debut professional season. And also like Kyle said, I think the odds are stacked against him to remain there. However, he has the baseball brains to play the position, it’s just if his physical abilities will be enough. I think if he can play an “average” center then he will become a top 10 prospect. If he has to move away from the outfield, his prospect status takes a hit.

There is a lot to like when watching Dylan Carlson swing the bat. First of all, he is a switch hitter (which is rare these days) and second, he should probably develop some nice power thanks to his 6’3″ build.

BaseballAmerica had Carlson the 16th best prospect from the Gulf Coast League in 2016 and had some really good things to say about him. In the article, they talk about mid-season adjustments that Carlson made to improve his swing and his splits show that as well. Over his first 20 games, he hit .169/.277/.211. But from that point he was .304/.339/.527.

Overall, Carlson had a 115 wRC+, which is good and probably even better for a center fielder. Granted it’s a small sample size, but the mid-season adjustments make this number even better.

Carlson will likely stay back when full-season clubs break camp in early April and I would expect him to start his season with either State College or Johnson City in June.

How we rank prospects: Click Here
Best of The Rest: Click Here
#30 Prospect: Daniel Poncedeleon
#29 Prospect: Jonathan Machado
#28 Prospect: Jeremy Martinez
#27 Prospect: John Gant
#26 Prospect: Alvaro Seijas
#25 Prospect: Nick Plummer
#24 Prospect: Jordan Hicks
#23 Prospect: Zac Gallen
#22 Prospect: Bryce Denton
#21 Prospect: Johan Oviedo
#20 Propsect: Randy Arozarena
#19 Prospect: Connor Jones
#18 Prospect: Dylan Carlson
#17 Prospect: 3/1
#16 Prospect: 3/3
#15 Prospect: 3/5
#14 Prospect: 3/7
#13 Prospect: 3/9
#12 Prospect: 3/11
#11 Prospect: 3/13
#10 Prospect: 3/15
#9 Prospect: 3/17
#8 Prospect: 3/19
#7 Prospect: 3/21
#6 Prospect: 3/23
#5 Prospect: 3/25
#4 Prospect: 3/27
#3 Prospect: 3/29
#2 Prospect: 3/31
#1 Prospect: 4/2

Kyle Reis
Kyle is a South City St Louis born and raised. He is 30 years old and grew up at old Busch Stadium. His favorite Cardinals player of all time is Ray Lankford. Kyle is an overly simple person who loves countable baseball statistics, following minor league baseball, and friendly discourse. He tends to not take people seriously that refer for the team that they root for as "we" instead of "them".
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