After not playing for 17 days due to a COVID-19 outbreak, the St. Louis Cardinals resumed their season this past Saturday. Among the many shifts in the roster, Dylan Carlson made a move to the majors. Carlson’s name has been circulating ever since the hiatus in the season started at the end of July. He was the top prospect in the Cardinals organization, so it was expected he would make his way to the big leagues. It took most of the 17 days for the front office to add Carlson to the roster for Saturday’s game again the Chicago White Sox.
Journey to the Debut
Right out of high school, Carlson was drafted by the Cardinals in the 1st round in the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft. At only 21 years of age, this outfielder has climbed up the latter in the organization. He has been a key contributor to all minor league teams as a left-handed thrower and switch hitter. In 2019, he spent time in both Double-A and Triple-A. With a combined 126 games he posted a .292 batting average. Across 562 plate appearances, he recorded 143 hits, 26 home runs, and 95 runs. His work in the minors did not go unnoticed as he was named the 2019 Texas League Player of the Year.
Stepping Up to the Majors
Unlike most players major league debut, Carlson’s consisted of playing in both games of a doubleheader. In both games against White Sox, he had three at-bats. The first game he went 0-3 with one strikeout. The second game was more in his favor, as he was able to record a hit and a walk. His versatile fielding abilities were able to shine in the doubleheader. The first game he played left field and the game following he was in right.
Cardinals outfielders Lane Thomas and Austin Dean are two players who have recently tested positive for the virus. Based on these players’ unavailability, Carlson will most likely be around for a little while longer. He fits right in among the other outfielders, and he has shown that his skill set is at the major league level. Dylan Carlson is the only left-handed thrower in the outfield on the 40-man roster at the moment. Compared to the other outfielders, he has the highest batting average based on the 2019 season. Other key offensive and defensive statistics are right in the same ballpark of those playing his position. Carlson has the ability to show the Cardinals staff that he is worthy of staying in the bigs past the return of those players who are out due to COVID-19.
What’s Ahead for Carlson
Dylan Carlson has a promising career ahead of him, but will it consist of him staying with the Cardinals? Towards the end of last season, when the roster expanded to 40 men, some thought Carlson should have been promoted. His breakout 2019 season was a big topic in the organization, and his numbers and skill showed that he might have had what it took to join the big leagues when the roster expanded. His name was in circulation this winter, also, when Marcel Ozuna went to Atlanta. But, he came up short of starting the season at the major league level. With the circumstances of this season, Carlson will most likely not earn a full year of major league service, making him a free agent at the end of the 2026 season. It is debatable whether he would want to stay with the Cardinals since he may have drawn the short straw on some opportunities in the past few months.
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