How likely is it that Victor Scott II makes the Cardinals roster in 2024?

Victor Scott II is one of the most dynamic prospects we've seen with St. Louis in recent years, but his path to a roster spot remains tricky.
Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals
Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

While Victor Scott II may not be the top prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals' farm system, it's safe to say he's one of the most exciting prospects the club has had in some time.

Most fans are at least familiar with Scott by now. He's the kind of speed threat that gives fans flashbacks of Vince Coleman. His game is perfectly tailored to the new rule games MLB introduced in 2024. On top of his elite speed, he plays a great center field, and his bat continues to make strides forward, evident by how hard he is hitting the ball this spring.

The Cardinals have played musical chairs with the center field position ever since they traded away Harrison Bader. It's easy to see why fans believe Scott should be in that position as soon as Opening day, but as of right now, Scott is not the favorite to be the Cardinals' center fielder when they open the season in Los Angeles and it does not appear like he's viewed as their backup option either.

How likely is it that we see Victor Scott II play for St. Louis in 2024?

The answer to that question seems to have gotten more complicated since the Brandon Crawford signing. All offseason, the Cardinals were leading us to believe that their shortstop mix comprised of Masyn Winn as the starter and Tommy Edman filling in when Winn needed a break. That plan made sense, as the club has Dylan Carlson who can slide into center field, and Scott quickly rising through the system.

One of the things that both John Mozeliak and Oli Marmol have indicated since the Crawford signing is that they prefer to have Edman focus primarily on center field, and not have to worry about bouncing around the field like he has in past seasons. Edman was thrust into the role midway through 2023 and flourished, and it's a huge vote of confidence from the Cardinals that they want to let him run with that role this year.

What that does complicate though is the status of Scott. With a player as exciting as Scott, you really don't want to pigeonhole him into a reserve role on the Major League roster throughout the course of a season. The best thing for Scott's development is consistent playing time, and frankly, that doesn't seem likely in St. Louis right now.

I know some of you believe that's not true if Edman were to start the year on the IL, but baring his timetable to return is a lot longer than we thought, I have a hard time imagining the Cardinals promoting Scott, adding him to their 40-man roster, DFA'ing one of their players, and handing him the reigns for a few weeks. I'm not saying they shouldn't do that, but knowing how they operate, it feels unlikely.

Dylan Carlson, even with how dissapointing the last year and a half has been for him, is a guy who makes a ton of sense in center field during Edman's absence. Carlson would get the opportunity to prove he's still the guy who was a top prospect in baseball and someone the Cardinals valued highly as recently as 2022. Even if he doesn't run with the job while Edman is on the mend, he's still well-suited to slide into that fourth outfielder role.

So where does that leave Scott? That's the tricky part to answer. Injuries can vault him into the conversation quickly should Edman get hurt again or have nagging issues. If Scott has a strong camp like Jordan Walker or Masyn Winn did in 2023, maybe that pushes the envelope a bit as well. But as we saw with Winn, that call-up still could be delayed until late into the season.

As things currently stand, I still think it's more likely than not that we see Scott in St. Louis this year. He's just too talented and dynamic to have to wait in Memphis, assuming he continues to shine, but the timing of a call-up will be determined by a lot of factors.

Again, we've already talked about injuries, but the underperformance of certain players could accelerate his timeline as well. If Crawford just cannot bounce back in 2024, maybe they do go back to Edman being the second option at shortstop, and they bring Scott up to be a part of that rotation. It would be even more likely to happen if Carlson was struggling.

Another scenario to watch is if either Carlson or Edman becomes major trade chips at the deadline. If the Cardinals are in contention, their glaring need will be another top-end starter, and one of those guys makes a ton of sense to feature in a package.

My guess is that a combination of Scott excelling in Memphis and one of those aforementioned situations happening will have to occur for him to be in St. Louis before the stretch run. But by the time August or September roll around, the Cardinals would be foolish not to have his speed on the roster for a playoff push.

I hope we see Scott much sooner, but as camp continues, I remain skeptical that the Cardinals will be aggressive with his promotion at this point.