Dylan Carlson should be the starting center fielder with Tyler O'Neill moving to a corner spot.
The start of Carlson's career has seemed to be surrounded by much more potential than follow-through, but he's going to get another shot in 2023 to establish himself as the player everyone knows he can turn into.
The switch-hitting outfielder's primary position is certainly center field, but the Cardinals have seemingly handed over those reigns to Tyler O'Neill, who has no business playing there every day. O'Neill is an immensely talented player, but he is and always has been much more suited for a corner outfield spot.
Allowing Carlson to take over in center would give him the confidence he may need from manager Oli Marmol, and perhaps he would finally begin to blossom at the big league level. In parts of four seasons, he has a combined 104 OPS+, so he hasn't been bad at the plate; he could just use a boost to get back to his 2021 season when he hit 18 home runs with 65 RBI.
It doesn't hurt that Carlson, 24, is also a much better defender than O'Neill is. He's been worth 0.2 Defensive Wins Above Replacement already in just seven games, while O'Neill is at -0.2. It's a very small sample size, but it does say a lot about how each player ranks in center. Especially with the universal designated hitter still around, there's going to be playing time for both of these young men, but Carlson should be the one in center.