Cardinals: Dylan Carlson is the premier Rookie of the Year candidate
By Matt Graves
There are many options for the Rookie of the Year, but after one month St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson is the premier option.
In the past 10 years, the St. Louis Cardinals have only had one outfielder at the top of prospect lists other than their current rookie, Dylan Carlson. Fans know the tragic story of Oscar Taveras, but he was likely the best position player candidate in the past 10 years to win Rookie of the Year.
On both sides of the ball, the Cardinals haven’t had a Rookie of the Year winner since Albert Pujols won in 2001. Before that, it was Todd Worrell 15 years earlier winning the award. Sounds like the Cardinals are due for a winner.
After a hot start to the year, Dylan Carlson is now the premier rookie in either league, per MLB Pipeline.
Coming into the year second on these rankings to Pirates’ rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes, Carlson jumped up a spot to first with his current .276/.350/.467 slash line with three homers and 15 RBI. Hayes has been out since the first two weeks of the season, helping Carlson jump his spot. However, Carlson is still ranked above all AL candidates and other NL Candidates.
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Carlson had a slow first week and has slowed down some recently, but this is all part of his growth as a player. Looking at his Baseball Savant landing screen, you’ll see a lot of blue, but it’s important to remember that these advanced statistics are descriptive, not predictive. Just because Carlson hasn’t had the highest hard hit percentage so far doesn’t mean that he can’t improve it moving forward.
Carlson struggled some in the past two weeks, but has looked a lot better in the last couple of days. He’s taken a couple of really long at-bats that have ended in hits in the past two days, a pretty good sign that he’s locked in.
Carlson will go through struggles at some point, but the prospect of him winning the first Cardinal Rookie of the Year in 20 years is exciting. Even if Carlson doesn’t win Rookie of the Year, that isn’t some grand statement about his future in the league. Progress is progress and he’s certainly showing he can be a valuable member of the Cardinals’ roster.