Cardinals' Victor Scott II will have to wait to make his major league debut

The most exciting player the Cardinals have has just been left off the roster.
Feb 25, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Victor Scott II (91)
Feb 25, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Victor Scott II (91) / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The news is now official, the St. Louis Cardinals will begin the season with Dylan Carlson as their center fielder, opting to send Victor Scott II down to Memphis to begin the year.

Scott II did everything he could to make the team. The coaches see that the kid is special. They honestly believe that he will be on the team. Just not right now. The kid keeps playing hard, doing everything he can to prove them wrong. He is making it a tough decision for management. Slowly, he turns more heads.

The fans hear about what the kid is doing and the excitement builds. Everyone sees he has a skill set that will improve the team right now, but management still wants to send him back down to the minors. After all, he only had 544 plate appearances in 133 games in the minors and never played in Triple-A. But there is an injury, and the team is now down a man. The pressure is off and the kid makes everyone breathe a little easier because they don’t have to justify keeping Albert Pujols on the Opening Day roster in 2001. 

Seven weeks before Albert made his MLB debut, Victor Scott II was born. Twenty-three years later, the Cardinals found themselves in a similar position with Scott. Having played in only 163 games in the minors with 760 plate appearances. This time the Cardinals opted to pass on this young player. 

It really should not be a surprise that Victor Scott II didn’t make the Opening Day roster. The entire offseason was building up to this day. Back in January, John Mozeliak said, “When you talk about culture, it’s important to have guys that have been around.” Even Nolan Arenado spoke up about the clubhouse being overrun with the young guys. Looking at the free-agent signings we brought in you see  Sonny Gray (34), Kyle Gibson (36), Lance Lynn (36), Keynan Middleton (30), Brandon Crawford (37), and Matt Carpenter (38). All players that are at least seven years older than Victor Scott.  

The other signpost was in February when the manager Oliver Marmol said this about Tommy Edman, “We want his focus to be on — if we all get out of here healthy — playing center field every day.” This was before Scott played his first spring training game of 2024. 

This spring Scott has the third-highest batting average, scored the most runs, five walks to six strikeouts, and led the team in stolen bases. He also made several highlight reel catches in center field. He clearly opened some eyes. 

Jordan Walker was in a very similar spot last year and made the team even though he also never played a game in Triple-A. This year, the focus shifted to a more veteran presence and Scott was the odd man out.

If you agree with me and feel as I did in December when I wrote this about how much sense it made to have him named the starting center fielder on opening day, then you also need to read Josh Jacobs’ column. He makes some good points about why this might not be the worst thing to happen.  

One thing we know about baseball is things can change quickly. Another outfielder gets hurt. Someone else isn’t performing like they did in spring training. Maybe we find out that Tommy Edman or Lars Nootbar will be out longer than expected. It’s possible that Scott will go to the Triple-A team and play even better than he did this spring. If any of those things happen, Scott will be the first player called.