The St. Louis Cardinals have had some shakeups in the outfield this season, who has the highest ceiling out of the bunch?
The St. Louis Cardinals began the 2022 season with one of the most dynamic, young outfields in baseball in the form of Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, and Dylan Carlson. Each of the three have underperformed for various reasons, and Bader was shipped to the Yankees for starter Jordan Montgomery at the deadline.
Back in December, I ranked the ceilings of O’Neill, Bader, Carlson, and Lars Nootbaar, but a lot has changed, both with those players and the organization’s depth at the position. It is time to re-rank the ceilings of the Cardinals outfielders.
This time around, I’ll be ranking O’Neill, Carlson, and Nootbaar ceilings along with the top two outfield prospects in the system, Jordan Walker and Alec Burleson. This is a deep list of talent, and all five players have an argument to be high on this list.
5. Alec Burleson
The 92nd ranked prospect in all of baseball, Alec Burleson has been mashing the baseball in AAA this season.
Burleson has slashed .325/.366/.527 with 20 HR and 84 RBI in 106 games for Memphis and looks ready to hit big league pitching already. Burleson has not been a highly regarded prospect until this season, but his mix of great contact and power has put him on the national radar. If he is mashing like this, why would his ceiling be lower than the rest?
Burleson’s biggest flaw is his long-term defensive positioning. He will likely be a below average corner outfielder defensively and projects to be a designated hitter for most of his career. The 23-year old can be a great major leaguer for a long time despite his defensive limitations, especially with the universal DH, but the other names on this list provide at least above average defensive abilities with their impact bats.