Dylan Carlson ranks third in the Texas League with 52 bases on balls. Next, he’ll be walking in Memphis.
The Cardinals promoted their No. 2 prospect from Double-A Springfield to Triple-A Memphis, the latter club announced. Carlson is likely to make his Pacific Coast League debut when the Redbirds open a four-game series with Iowa on Thursday.
The 20-year-old switch-hitting outfielder was in the midst of a breakout campaign that saw him earn invites to both the Texas League All-Star Game and the All-Star Futures Game this summer. His 21 homers are easily the most in the Texas League — four others are tied for second with 17 — and he also leads the circuit with 51 extra-base hits, 216 total bases, a .518 slugging percentage and 81 runs scored through 108 games. Additionally, Carlson ranks among the top 10 in the Texas League in average (.281), on-base percentage (.364), OPS (.882) and stolen bases (18).
The power surge has been the most promising development for Carlson in 2019. After being selected in the first round of the 2016 Draft, the California native combined to hit 21 homers in his first three professional seasons. He has doubled that career total this season alone.
“Really honing in and focusing on my approach, that’s something I’ve changed,” he said at the Futures Game in Cleveland. “Not just my approach, but my plan for the game has changed a little bit. I really try to go up there and have some intent with what I’m doing and do some damage.
“For me, I wouldn’t say [I was being] too passive, but I would give in to the way pitchers would pitch to me. I would kind of just think if this pitcher is going to try to get me out a certain way, I would try to hit to how he was trying to get me out as opposed to sticking to what I’m good at.”
Carlson has risen in the prospect rankings and now holds the No. 51 spot in MLB.com’s Top-100. His power potential is now considered above-average and he earns similar grades for his glove and arm in the outfield. Carlson started at all three outfield spots in Springfield but spent the bulk of his time in center. He has not played in a corner spot since June 8, but that could change when he joins a Memphis outfield unit that already boasts gifted defender Harrison Bader.
Top Angels prospect Jo Adell is the only active Pacific Coast League position player younger than Carlson.
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.