St. Louis Cardinals 2016 Top Prospects: #8 Charlie Tilson

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One area the St. Louis Cardinals have lacked in recent years is speed and stolen bases. This may change soon, with some of the prospects on their way up.

Recently I have been covering St. Louis Cardinals‘ prospects who are far away or prospects who offer up a ton of value from their bat alone that they become an automatic top prospect. This prospect could be a whole lot lower and probably is so in many lists, but in terms of proximity to the majors and the speed that not many in the system offer, Charlie Tilson is a top ten prospect.

It’s easy to discount the once promising prospect of Charlie Tilson, due to his lack of power. However, Tilson has molded himself into a pretty good player throughout his time in the system. Tilson’s only problem is that he is an OF, which means he is quite a ways down on the organizational depth chart in terms of becoming a starter at the big league level.

So, what is there to like about Tilson?

#8 Charlie Tilson OF

Season Stats: 

GPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSGDPHBP
1345945398515920943246194672.295.351.388.73922

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Scout Grade: Hit: 55 | Power: 30 | Run: 65 | Arm: 50 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50*

Analysis: I am not quite sure what to think of Tilson. He draws a ton of comparison to New York Yankees’ LF Brett Gardner. However, according to John Manuel of Baseball America, scouts have him rated at a 60 grade speed on a 20-80 scale, which does not put him in Brett Gardner territory. Until this year Tilson, had not used his speed much in the stolen base area, but this year he broke out stealing 46 bases. 

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The thing to like about Tilson’s stolen base ability, is that he was caught 19 times in his 65 attempts. Which to me, means that if he can improve his craft and become a smarter base stealer, then he could be much better. Tilson’s strong OBP is also a really good sign for the Springfield Redbirds “player of the year”.

With the bat, Tilson probably comps out to a high contact low power guy, much like Gardner before the New Yankee Stadium. While Tilson didn’t impress much at the Arizona Fall League this year, I think he has a better chance at making the bigs this year with a really good start in Memphis, if there’s an injury at the big league level.

Tilson’s speed could make for a decent argument to have him on the roster as a fill in 5th outfielder at different points in the season. He could easily fill in where Peter Bourjos left off as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. However, Tilson really is just kind of average and simply does not have a shot at being anything bother than a fourth or fifth or fifth outfielder for the Cardinals.

I think Brain Walton of Scout.com says it best, in reference to Tilson being the top position player in their prospect list Walton has this to say, “Even so, though it is not Tilson’s fault, it is just hard for me to get excited about a likely fourth outfielder as the organization’s top position player prospect.”

Next: Cardinals' 2016 Top Prospects: #9 Aledmys Diaz

Roster Prediction: AAA Memphis

This is undoubtedly where Tilson will start the season, and he will be the CF in between Jeremy Hazelbaker and Anthony Garcia.

If you have missed any of our “Top Prospects” series, you can check them out here.

*Scout Grade via MLB.com

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