Carlson and Rondon Named 2019 Cardinals Organization Top Minors Players

photo: Dylan Carlson and Joe Kruzel (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Thursday, December 5) their 2019 Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year selections, honoring outfielder Dylan Carlson and right-handed pitcher Angel Rondon (pronounced ahn-hell) for their accomplishments on the field.

“We are very pleased to recognize Dylan Carlson and Angel Rondon for their selections as the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year,” said John Mozeliak, Cardinals President of Baseball Operations.

Carlson combined to slash .292/.372/.542 with 26 home runs, eight triples, 28 doubles, 20 stolen bases, and a .914 OPS in 126 games between Springfield (AA) and Memphis (AAA). One of 10 minor leaguers with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases and the first Cardinal to do so since Terry Evans (22-26) and Tyler Greene (20-33) in 2006, the switch-hitting Carlson ranked among Cardinals minor league leaders in hits (143, 1st), triples (1st), total bases (265, 1st), home runs (2nd), runs scored (95, 2nd), slugging (2nd), OPS (2nd), doubles (4th), RBI (5th), stolen bases (5th), and walks (58, 5th).

As the Texas League’s 4th-youngest player (2nd-youngest position player) on Opening Day at age 20, Carlson was named a Mid-Season All-Star, where he led all of Double-A baseball in runs scored (53), while ranking T6th in extra-base hits (31), 6th in total bases (132), and 10th in hits (75) at the All-Star Break.

Carlson finished his 2019 campaign in Memphis in mid-August, slashing .361/.418/.681 with five homers and nine RBI in 18 games. After August 15, Carlson ranked among PCL leaders in hits (T3rd, 26), total bases (49, T4th), and extra-base hits (11, T5th), where he hit safely in 13 games, with nine multi-hit efforts.

“Dylan’s season was highlighted by being named Texas League Player of the Year, and his promotion to Memphis,” said Gary LaRocque, Cardinals Director of Player Development.

Additionally recognized as a Post-Season All-Star, Carlson joins Matt Adams (2011) and Oscar Taveras (2012) as Springfield (AA) Texas League Player of the Year winners. Following the season Baseball America selected him as their Double-A Player of the Year, one of three outfielders on the Double-A and Minor League All-Star First Teams, and recognized him as the Texas League’s No. 2 overall prospect and “Best Defensive Outfielder” in their Best Tools Survey. He also appeared in Major League Baseball’s SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland for the National League team.

Dylan Carlson

The 21-year-old Carlson enters next season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect and “Best Hitter for Average” in the Cardinals organization. At No. 1, Carlson is the highest-rated position player in the Cardinals organization since Taveras (No. 1 from 2013-14).

Rondon, who recently turned age 22 on December 1, was 11-7 with a 2.93 ERA (160.0 IP) and 159 strikeouts in 28 starts between Palm Beach (High-A) and Springfield (AA), all career bests that placed him among Cardinals organizational leaders in wins (T2nd), strikeouts (2nd), starts (T1st), innings pitched (2nd).

His 28 starts tied for the most across all of minor league baseball while his innings pitched ranked 6th. The Higuey, Dominican Republic native recorded 13 quality starts, pitching 6.0 innings or more in 15 starts, including season-high 7.0 frames in three outings. He allowed two or fewer runs in 19 starts.

“Angel started 2019 in Palm Beach with a promotion to Springfield in May,” commented LaRocque. “He finished the season leading the Texas League in ERA, earning the selection as the Organization Pitcher of the Year.”

The 6-feet-1, 195-lb. right-hander was named to the Florida State Mid-Season All-Star team after going 5-1 with a 2.20 ERA (45.0 IP) and 47 strikeouts in eight starts. He made his Double-A debut in mid-May, finishing 6-6 with a 3.21 ERA (115.0 IP) and 112 strikeouts in 20 starts, leading the Texas League in ERA and average against (.230) and ranking 2nd in WHIP (1.23), and 10th in strikeouts.

Angel Rondon

A day after rejoining Springfield on June 29 for a second stint, Rondon struck out a season-high 10 over 7.0 frames, allowing one run on one hit vs. Northwest Arkansas (AA-Royals) on his way to being named Texas League Pitcher of the Week for the June 24- 30 period.

Carlson was the Cardinals Supplemental first round draft pick (33rd overall) in the June, 2016 First Year Player draft out of Elk Grove (Calif.) High School, while Rondon was signed by the Cardinals as an International free agent on January 6, 2016.

Both players will be presented with their awards at the 62nd annual St. Louis Baseball Writers Association of America Awards Dinner on Sunday, January 19, 2020.


Brian Walton’s take

In The Cardinal Nation’s top player awards for 2019, announced in October, Rondon was our top starting pitcher in the system. However, playing at the same two levels, Randy Arozarena delivered better starts than Carlson, so was our Player of the Year selection.

It should be added that Carlson is a superior Major League prospect – but Arozarena had a better 2019 season. And the latter is why this award is supposed to be about.

Full details on all these players and a number of other candidates can be found in the following articles, exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.

TCN’s 2019 Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year

TCN’s 2019 Cardinals Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year

All annual TCN player and pitcher awards can be found here (and also via the menu on the left sidebar).

Season Recaps and Players of the Year by Level


Prior winners

The following table shows all Player and Pitcher of the Year award winners as announced by the Cardinals organization and The Cardinal Nation.

Cardinals organzation The Cardinal Nation
Yr Player Teams
1995 Mike Gulan, 3B Lv/Ark
1996 Dmitri Young, INF Lv
1997 Brent Butler, INF Peo
1998 Pablo Ozuna, INF Peo
1999 Adam Kennedy, INF Mem
2000 Albert Pujols, 3B Peo/Pot
2001 Covelli Crisp, OF Potomac
2002 John Gall, 1B N Haven
2003 John Gall, 1B Tenn/Mem
2004 Reid Gorecki, OF PB/Tenn
2005 Travis Hanson, 3B Spr
2006 Colby Rasmus, OF QC/PB
2007 Colby Rasmus, OF Spr Rasmus
2008 Daryl Jones, OF PB/Spr David Freese, 3B Memphis
2009 Allen Craig, OF/IF Mem Craig
2010 Matt Carpenter, 3B PB/Spr Carpenter
2011 Matt Adams, 1B Springfield Adams
2012 Oscar Taveras, OF Springfield Taveras
2013 Kolten Wong, 2B Memphis Wong
2014 Magneuris Sierra, OF GCL Sierra
2015 Stephen Piscotty, OF Mem/StL Allen Cordoba, SS GCL
2016 Carson Kelly, C Spr/Mem/StL Eliezer Alvarez 2B Peoria
2017 Harrison Bader, OF Spr/Mem Andrew Knizner, C Peo/Spr
2018 Tyler O’Neill, OF Mem/StL Elehuris Montero, 3B Peo/PB
2019 Dylan Carlson, OF Sprr/Mem Randy Arozarena, OF Spr/Mem
Yr Pitcher Teams The Cardinal Nation
1995 Mike Busby, RHP Lv/Ark
1996 Britt Reames, RHP Peoria
1997 Cliff Politte, RHP PW/Ark
1998 Rick Ankiel, LHP Peo/PW
1999 Rick Ankiel, LHP Ark/Mem
2000 Bud Smith, LHP Ark/Mem
2001 Jimmy Journell, RHP Pot/NH
2002 Tyler Johnson, LHP Peoria
2003 Dan Haren, RHP Tenn/Mem
2004 Anthony Reyes, RHP PB/Tenn.
2005 Mark Worrell, RHP Palm Beach
2006 Blake Hawksworth, RHP PB/Spr
2007 P.J. Walters, RHP QC/PB/Spr Walters
2008 Jess Todd, RHP PB/Spr/Mem Todd
2009 Lance Lynn, RHP PB/Spr/Mem Lynn
2010 Shelby Miller, RHP QC Brandon Dickson, RHP Memphis
2011 Shelby Miller, RHP PB/Spr Miller
2012 Seth Maness, RHP PB/Spr Trevor Rosenthal, RHP Spr/Mem/StL
2013 Zach Petrick, RHP Peoria/PB/Spr Petrick
2014 Marco Gonzales, LHP PB/Spr/Mem/StL Rob Kaminsky, LHP Peoria
2015 Alex Reyes, RHP PB/Spr Reyes
Austin Gomber, LHP Peoria
2016 Luke Weaver, RHP Spr/Mem/StL Weaver
2017 Jack Flaherty, RHP Spr/Mem/StL Flaherty
2018 Dakota Hudson, RHP Mem/StL Jake Dahlberg, LHP SC/Peo
2019 Angel Rondon, RHP PB/Mem Rondon

For more

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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