Dylan Carlson, still only 23, was a promising prospect for the Cardinals throughout his time in the minors. He was featured on many top-100 lists, but he made it all the way up to #13 in the 2020 preseason rankings. That same year, despite the delay caused by COVID, Carlson made his debut on August 15th. He played left field that game.
In that game, Carlson went 0-3 with a strikeout, but he would tally his first hit in the next game. His first home run came about a week later on August 23rd against the Reds. In his rookie season, Carlson slashed .200/.252/.364. It is important to note that Carlson played his entire first season in completely empty stadiums. It is tough enough for a new player to adjust to professional pitching, let alone adjust without a normal stadium environment.
Carlson's sophomore season was much better. In 2021, Carlson hit .266/.343/.437 with 18 home runs and an OPS+ of 118. Additionally, Carlson provided strong defense in the corner and some innings in center. Carlson has become persona non grata with many Cardinals fans, but his age (24), prospect history, and control (free agent in 2027) make him an interesting player for the future of the Cardinals.