Dylan Carlson: Cardinals 2019 Minor League Player Of The Year
Switch-hitting outfielder Dylan Carlson asserted his arrival at Double-A Springfield with such immediate production in April and May that by the time he left the Texas League in August, there wasn’t enough time for the opposition to catch him.
And then his production accelerated.
The 20-year-old Carlson, one of the youngest players in Triple-A, pushed the pace of his development all season and forced his way into the Cardinals’ 2020 plans.
Through his first 14 games for Memphis, Carlson went 20-for-53 (.377) with three home runs, three doubles and a triple. Little more than a week after he joined the Pacific Coast League, he learned he had won the Texas League’s player of the year award.
"He dominated that league at a young age,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. "You think about going wire-to-wire (as a leader). It’s a hard league to dominate. Unless you’re truly an elite player. He does it all."
Carlson, a 2016 first-rounder out of Elk Grove (Calif.) High, teased the oncoming cloudburst of production last year at high Class A Palm Beach and again as the youngest player at big league camp this spring. He made an impression on the St. Louis coaching staff as a patient hitter and versatile fielder.
The Cardinals' player development side saw something else: A young man gaining strength as he matured. Power followed.
At Springfield, Carlson hit 21 home runs and had a .281/.364/.518 slash line. He ranked near the top of the TL in every significant category and joined Matt Adams (2011) and the late Oscar Taveras (2012) as Springfield’s TL player of the year winners.
Carlson is slated for the Arizona Fall League, but he might not be there long, because the Cardinals want him ready to compete for a role in the majors next spring.
"He’s been extremely focused every step of the way,” farm director Gary LaRocque said. "If you look back on the levels, he’s always brought himself up to the level of the league quickly. He’s the type of kid who thrives on the opportunity that the next day comes. He’s going to go after it.”
— On the eve of a likely September callup, lefty Genesis Cabrera tied a Pacific Coast League record by striking out nine consecutive batters on Aug. 24 against Omaha. Cabrera finished with 12 strikeouts in the game to improve to 5-6, 5.91 for Triple-A Memphis. He matched a feat last done in the PCL and for the Redbirds by Alex Reyes in May 2018.
— Among the eight players the Cardinals will send to the Arizona Fall League, righthander Griffin Roberts has long been advertised as a swift mover. The 2018 supplemental first-rounder had more walks (34) than strikeouts (30) and struggled to a 1-7, 6.82 season at high Class A Palm Beach. The team remains high on his mix of pitches and power, perhaps in a relief role.