Victor Scott II is blazing a trail that the Cardinals can't help but be excited about

John Mozeliak recently spoke about Victor Scott II, and it's clear that the Cardinals are extremely high on his future with this team.
SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

While most of the attention this offseason has been on the St. Louis Cardinals quest to acquire pitching, pitching, and more pitching, there is a lot of young talent in the organization to be excited about, with center fielder Victor Scott II being perhaps the brightest of the bunch.

2023 was a breakout year for Scott, playing 66 games in High-A and 66 games in Double-A while continuing to develop as a hitter and put his elite speed and defense to good use. Scott stole 94 bases across the two levels this year, which made headlines for many people, but it's the progress his bat has made that is really putting him on the organization's radar.

Upon being promoted to Double-A, Scott actually saw his average, on-base, and slugging percentages all rise substantially as he developed as a hitter. While he's adding more power to his game, Scott's approach at the plate is about getting on base so he can put pressure on opposing pitchers. His speed forces the pitcher on the mound to give the hitter better pitches to hit, so not only is Scott stealing a mind-boggling amount of bases, but he's also helping his teammates behind him in the process.

While speaking with Tom Ackerman over on KMOX this past Sunday, Mozeliak was asked about Scott and his future with the club, and you could tell by his words and the tone of his voice that the Cardinals are very excited about his future in center field.

"I think when he was drafted, he was a sprinter. I think now he's becoming a baseball player, and that's a great compliment. He's going to be a fun guy to watch, a fun guy to follow, and when you're looking at someone that has that type of elite speed and knows how to use it, that is a powerful tool. He literally does not hit for a lot of power, but the fact that he gets on base, it can be a double or a triple fast...

We are very excited about him. I was talking to Flo [Randy Flores] the other day and he's really excited about this guy's talent, and just reminded me he's got real upside, so don't block him."

Scott will likely begin the 2024 season in Triple-A but don't be surprised if he makes it very difficult for the Cardinals to send him down at the end of Spring Training this spring. Scott has the potential to be a true difference-maker for the Cardinals in the near future, and when he's ready, they won't hesitate to have him roaming in center field. Not only is he a guy who's going to possibly lead the league in stolen bases and continue to improve as a hitter, but his defense in center field is elite as well, and is something that could help the Cardinals prevent runs in a big way.

Scott will be joining me and site contributors Sandy McMillan and Andrew Wang on the Noot News Podcast tonight (December 19th) from 6pm-10pm CT to raise money for Big League Impact, alongside other guests like Trevor Rosenthal, Katie Woo, Jim Hayes, Brooke Grimsley, Scott Van Slyke, and many others. We'll be chatting with Scott about his breakout 2023 season and what all is in store for him in 2024! You can check out that conversation live on our YouTube channel or catch it afterward as well below.

As things currently stand, Tommy Edman projects to be the Cardinals' Opening Day center fielder, with Dylan Carlson being the fourth outfielder who would start in center when Edman has a day off or is playing shortstop. Even though the Cardinals are likely to remain patient with Scott, there's a world where he could force his way onto the Opening Day roster or claim the center field job soon after.

The first path would be coming into Spring Training and blowing the Cardinals away with his performance. Last year, Jordan Walker was able to make the Opening Day roster with both corner outfield spots being an open competition. Masyn Winn had an excellent spring himself but was blocked by Edman and Paul DeJong. I don't think Scott is blocked in the same way Winn was, but even if he does perform well, it'll likely need to be paired with question marks around Edman and/or Carlson for the Cardinals to be aggressive with Scott.

The second scenario actually has to do with Winn. If Winn struggles throughout the spring, the Cardinals may want to have him start the year in Memphis, which would slide Edman to shortstop. Carlson would be the next man up in center, but based on how the Cardinals used him last year, I don't think they'd let him be the reason they don't go with Scott if he proves he is ready.

Obviously, injuries can impact this as well. If Edman, Winn, or Carlson were to go down during the spring, Scott's chances of making the roster would go up significantly.

Even if Scott doesn't get the call until later in the season, it's fun to think about how his presence on the roster would already make the Cardinals a better team. When he's starting, his defense would be a huge lift to the Cardinals outfield. Assuming Walker continues to make strides in right field, the Cardinals' outfield defense would go from well-below-average to a really solid unit and could be one of the better defensive outfields in baseball.

In the lineup, Scott would likely bat ninth early on but would make for a very dangerous weapon there. If Scott gets on base, he would represent elite speed on the basepaths with some combination of Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Nolan Gorman, and Willson Contreras to follow him. All of those guys are already excellent at knowing the strike zone and putting together good at-bats, so getting even better pitches to hit with Scott on the base paths could make things ugly for the opposing team.

There is a lot to be excited about with Scott, and the Cardinals recognize that. It'll only be a matter of time before all of Cardinals Nation and the baseball world get to see it for themselves.

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