The St. Louis Cardinals’ breakout candidate for 2022 season
Dylan Carlson is the St. Louis Cardinals’breakout candidate for 2022 season, and he could soon blossom into a star in their outfield.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ offense consists of three elite players – Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill – and other good pieces such as Tommy Edman, Harrison Bader and Yadier Molina. There are question marks such as Paul DeJong, who enters the season as the Cardinals’ strongest candidate to be benched early in the season.
But they have a breakout candidate in 2022, and it’s outfielder Dylan Carlson. The 23-year-old was once their top prospect and while expectations are high for him, there are some people around the league who believe he is primed for a breakout caliber season.
Carlson’s first full season has only added to the expectations, as he hit 18 home runs with 65 RBI while finishing third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. And new manager Oli Marmol, who will move his players more throughout the lineup than Mike Shildt ever did, told MLB.com that he plans to have Carlson bat leadoff some days and as far down as fifth on other days. It all depends on the matchup.
Carlson also gives the Cardinals something they don’t have a lot of: a switch-hitting bat who gives them some balance in a right-handed dominant lineup. He hit .313 in August and .280 with five home runs in September while the Cardinals went from a playoff afterthought to within an inning of knocking the Los Angeles Dodgers out of the wild card round.
Carlson was a big part of that and, considering his success against right-handed pitching (the Cardinals were in the bottom-half of the league in that category last year), he becomes a really important piece for them in his second full year. They are being careful not to put too much on his plate too early or to raise public expectations.
Internally, however, the Cardinals believe that Carlson can be a star – and it’s entirely possible we see it blossom before our very eyes this season.