Updated: Feb 24, 2018
In conjunction with my friend Colin Garner over at The Redbird Daily, we present to you our combined list of the Top 30 Prospects in the Cardinals organization! Every other day for the next two months, From January 28th until March 29th, we will be presenting you with an exhaustive evaluation on each of the top 30 prospects in the organization starting with prospect #30 and counting down to prospect #1. This is our combined list, not our own individual lists. For additional information on how we came these rankings, CLICK HERE. Without further delay, we present...
Prospect #18, OF Dylan Carlson
Age To Start The 2018 Season: 19
Drafted In The 1st Round Of The 2016 Draft
2017 wRC+: 101
Kyle Reis (Prospect #19 On Personal List, Prior To Combining Lists With Colin Garner)
Dylan Carlson should be commended for holding his own and being a league average player (wRC+ of 101) while spending his entire season at a full season affiliate at the age of 18, and that's WHAT I LOVE ABOUT DYLAN CARLSON.
Carlson's father is a highly decorated and respected High School baseball coach and you can see that impact and wealth of knowledge in Carlson's game. He is as mature of a teenager as you'll find in baseball. He's a dedicated and hard worker, and he treats the sport and his place in it with the utmost professionalism. These are the kind of things that can't be measured and I usually skip right by them when evaluating, but the work-ethic and baseball awareness is so off the charts for Carlson that it needs to be mentioned.
Speaking of his maturity, Carlson grew up in adversity, but not the generic kind. I highly encourage everyone to READ THIS ARTICLE by Jose de Jesus Ortiz. In that article you'll find an incredibly endearing and emotionally captivating story about this young man and his mother. This is a high class kid. He's the best that a teenager has to offer. He's the kind of player, the kind of man, that you can't help but root for.
I like everything about Carlson's build. He's a big boy, checking in at 6'3, 200 lbs. He's a big and strong kid, but he's lean. I think that he will gain muscle mass as he gets older and that'll really help his power numbers increase. I know this; he has a body designed to put on weight and muscle. I like that this young man has a little switch-hitting potential. He’s undoubtedly a better hitter left handed than he is right handed, but you can see all of the skills coming together for him on the right side.
I'm a HUGE fan of his 2017 BB rate. 11.5% at a full season affiliate at the age of 18 is so damn good. It should not be understated. That's a lot of discipline. It also shows you that he is smart enough to realize that his bat wasn't where it needed to be for the level and that he was looking for any way to get on base. He was looking for any way to help his team. That will be Carlson's calling card as he makes his way through the system. The production will come. I can almost promise it.
Carlosn Had an up and down season for Peoria in 2017. As you might expect, he got off to a rough start. However, from the beginning of June until the end of the season he was steady.
As you might expect from such a young player at an advanced level, Carlson got off to a rough start. However, from the beginning of June until the end of the season he was steady. He had a terrific month of June in which he put up a .804 OPS with an OPS od .367. All in all, Carlson had a psoitive second half of the season that he’ll be able to build off of in 2018. The slash line of 263/347/371/718 isnt glamorous, but its a terrific stepping stone for Carlson.
For being as big of a body as he is, Carlson plays a solid outfield. Carlson played a fair amount of center field for Peoria, but he profiles way better as a corner outfielder. As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for how perfect of a right field-fit Jose Adolis Garcia was, I'd be comfortable saying that Carlson possesses the best all-around tools to profile as a right fielder. He had 14 outfield assists in 2017 and 12 came while playing right field. His arm is stronger than anyone gives him credit for. Carlson is as athletic as he is gifted, physically. Aith experience, he’ll have the potential to add power to an already disciplined hitting approach. His mental makeup is second to none in the organization. He is everything that you could hope for out of a teenage prospect.
On that note, It's tough for me to find things that I don't like about Carlson. Especially because of how advanced his assignment was in 2017. He finished 2016 strong, but he got off to such a bad start that it's hard to evaluate using the 2016 season. Then he was assigned to a full season affiliate from the on-set of the 2017 season at the age of 18. Of course he's going to struggle. I can't stress enough how big of an ask that is for a kid that young and inexperienced. He absolutely held his own, but that kind of advanced promotion can have detrimental effects on a players development. The Cardinals tried something similar with both Edmundo Sosa and Magneuris Sierra and neither have been as successful as they were prior to the advanced promotion. Also, both of those players had experience above the GCL level. Carlson did not prior to 2017. His development should not have been treated so willy-nilly.
I mentioned above that I'm pleasantly surprise by how well this young man plays the outfield. I'm going to play both sides of the fence here and say that I also hate that he is playing in the outfield. . That's not a knock on him, it's a knock on the organization. The Cardinals have a clear organizational need for a high-upside first baseman and it should be Carlson. He's more than held his own in the outfield, especially right field. However, with the advanced pace and track that his development is on, it would serves his bat well to transition to 1B and concentrate on hitting. He'll always be a hard enough worker to make himself a good first baseman, but the bat is definitely where the work is needed right now.
Besides that, I'm not going to comment about his stats. They weren't flashy. The K rate was high. There wasn't much in the way of a slugging percentage. But those are all things that you should expect from a player playing in a league that he should not be playing in. I don't know where he'll start the 2018 season, but I think it'd do him well to start right back in Peoria. Palm Beach will kill any chance at offensive production for him and he isn't nearly ready for AA. As a matter of fact, I believe that an assignment at AA to start the season would be catastrophic for his development.
If I'm comparing the uber-talented yet raw Carlson to anyone it's... OK, I'm not going to compare him to anyone, either. His development has been so accelerated that I just don't have a feel for who he compares to right now. I will say that I think that he can be a special kid. I see the potential for Trot Nixon-esque production in his bat eventually, but there's still such a long way to go. He could turn out to be even better than that.
As always, these articles can't be done without Fangraphs and Baseball Reference. They are equally as reliant on the skills of Cardinalsgif's and NChill17. It's a pleasure to do this list with my friend Colin Garner at The Redbird Daily.
Thanks For Reading!