One of the Cardinals top prospects is climbing another step closer to his big-league debut.
St. Louis promoted their No. 2 prospect Dylan Carlson to Triple-A Memphis Thursday, another rung on the ladder of what has been a successful professional career already for the 20-year-old outfielder. Carlson has gained momentum this season with a .281/.364/.518 batting line to go with 21 home runs in 483 plate appearances at Double-A Springfield.
Though the Cardinals are typically reserved with granting immediate opportunities to players of such a ripe age, Carlson has a chance with this Memphis promotion to prove himself worthy of the responsibility. Though he doesn't turn 21 until October, a successful stint in Triple-A for the stretch run of this season could lead to Carlson being viewed as a legitimate candidate for the Cardinals Opening Day roster in 2020.
With Marcell Ozuna likely to depart in free agency after this season, the Cardinals could look to younger players like Tyler O'Neill, Harrison Bader, Lane Thomas and Randy Arozarena as options to help fill the void in the St. Louis outfield next season.
But the reality is, Carlson might be more talented than every player on that list.
While playing in the Double-A Texas League, frequently against competition several years his senior, Carlson led the league this season in home runs, slugging percentage and runs scored, and ranked among the top 10 in batting average, OBP, OPS, doubles, triples and stolen bases. All of this in a league that is generally considered much more pitcher-friendly than the Pacific Coast League, where the Memphis Redbirds reside.
Though the Memphis season has less than a few weeks remaining, it'll be interesting to track the newest Redbird as he continues his claim for a spot in the Busch Stadium outfield--perhaps sooner than expected.