Carlson May Miss Chance to Play Three Outfield Positions in One Game

photo: Dylan Carlson (Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports)

A stat from the 2020 St. Louis Cardinals season that I found to be symmetrically cool was generated by manager Mike Shildt’s use of Dylan Carlson. The rookie received exactly eight starts each in left field, center field and right field.

That same kind of diverse defensive deployment seemed to be in the cards for Carlson in 2021, but with the difference being that he has earned a regular spot in the batting order.

This all changed earlier this month with the trade of Dexter Fowler to the Angels. Carlson is now generally assumed to be the new regular in right (though several members of The Cardinal Nation’s message board community have been discussing the merits of Tyler O’Neill in right and Carlson in left, from where O’Neill earned the 2020 National League Gold Glove).

Dylan Carlson

Even in his symmetric 2020, Carlson was never called upon to play all three outfield positions in the same game, however.

It would have been a rarity, indeed. In fact, it has happened just 12 times in the history of the franchise, clarified thanks to a data pull made by researcher Tom Orf.

Player Date Opp Outcome Positions
Randal Grichuk 7 18 15 NYM W 12-2 CF RF LF
Jon Jay 9 06 14 MIL W 5-3 CF RF LF
Jon Jay 8 20 14 CIN W 7-3 CF RF LF
Jon Jay 7 19 14 LAD W 4-2 CF RF LF
Brian Barton 9 14 08 PIT L 2-7 CF RF LF
So Taguchi 5 25 05 PIT W 11-5 CF RF LF
Colin Porter 5 06 04 PHI W 7-4 CF RF LF
J.D. Drew 7 04 00 CIN W 14-3 PH CF RF LF
Milt Thompson 9 03 89 HOU W 4-3 CF RF LF
Tito Landrum 7 29 86 PHI L 7-12 CF RF LF
Willie Davis 7 18 75 SFG L 1-2 CF RF LF
Rip Repulski 4 17 54 CHC L 13-23 CF RF LF

Given his penchant for double switches and creative bullpen usage, it should not be surprising that nine of the 12 transpired while Tony La Russa was managing the team.

Jon Jay (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Further, three occurred with the same player in the same season. In the summer of 2014, Jon Jay made such diverse appearances in one game each in July, August and September.

Though Jay left the Cardinals following the 2015 season, the soon-to-be 36-year-old remains an active big leaguer. The Miami native is alongside Fowler in the Angels’ spring camp as a non-roster invitee.

In several other oddities, J.D. Drew entered a 2000 game as a pinch hitter prior to his three defensive position appearances, scoring bonus points. The most recent Cardinal to play in left, center and right in the same contest is current Blue Jay Randal Grichuk in 2015. The first Cardinal to do this was Rip Repulski during a wild 1954 contest against the Cubs in which 36 runs were scored.

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