August 18, 2019 at 5:21 pm #102732August 18, 2019 at 7:50 pm #102740
From folks that have been fortunate enough to see him in person, what does the eye test say about Carlson in CF? Is that a possibility or is he likely a corner guy?
I assume Bader is at the top of the list in skill set patrolling the middle of the OF, but the fact that Bader, Oneill, Randy A, Lane Thomas, Adolis Garcia and perhaps Carlson can all play CF, is a nice luxury to have. If they could magically figure out who can hit moving forward and deal a couple of the others, that would be a better luxury to have! Out of that list, Carlson is the only untradeable at this point.August 19, 2019 at 12:51 am #102755
“From folks that have been fortunate enough to see him in person, what does the eye test say about Carlson in CF? Is that a possibility or is he likely a corner guy?”
I’ll bite, ChiTown. Saw him in Peoria when he was just an 18-year-old colt, so Dylan’s abilities could have evolved. But at the time (and even as recently as 2019 Spring Training) I would not have bet on his ever being a regular MLB center fielder unless you gave me at least, say, 7-1 odds. Wouldn’t have truly embraced the wager without 10-1 or better.
There was nothing wrong with him, no slow first step like Fowler or giraffe-on-roller-skates effect like a certain overused right fielder we all know. But Carlson just wasn’t a burner, wasn’t a center field profile as the cool kids say. Nothing remotely like Bader for example. And in fact, the defensive metrics at both Baseball Prospectus and Clay Davenport scream out loud and clear that Carlson was far below average in center field for Springfield this year.
I’m pretty sure Dylan could be a real asset in a corner, however, and anyway Harry Bader should be playing every single day under the Arch of course, as he’s a ~3.0 WAR player even if he hits .220. Unfortunately some managers (and we fans) tend to fixate counterproductively on batting averages and strikeouts, rather than seeing players as a whole — which is not merely a different way to see them, but the only wise way to see them, the only way that works for optimizing wins.
(I’m allowing myself the latitude to rant about Bader, since through some extraordinary idiocy he has somehow been made a minor leaguer again. That’s the same Bader who’s been worth 3.7 WAR per 600 plate appearances at the MLB level for his young career — averaging the Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs values.) Any individual or organization that explicitly or implicitly says, “We’re starting our three best-hitting outfielders, regardless of defense and baserunning,” is stupid and doomed. And unworthy of our support as fans.August 19, 2019 at 6:02 am #102756
I have seen Carlson twice in Springfield so that is a small sample size but he looked to be at least average defensively and far above offensively. Sure hope Mo doesn’t get trade fever with him. Shades of Oscar Mercado who is leading the Indians back to the playoffs (with a few helpers).August 19, 2019 at 6:47 am #102759
Bob Reed wrote:
“Any individual or organization that explicitly or implicitly says, “We’re starting our three best-hitting outfielders, regardless of defense and baserunning,” is stupid and doomed. And unworthy of our support as fans.”
Bob, I am curious how you classify Tommy Edman, the semi-regular right fielder currently? 😉
On the subject of the thread, I would be interested in seeing a bit of detail on the defensive metrics you cite for Carlson this year. Not disagreeing – just interested in learning more. Thanks.August 19, 2019 at 7:06 am #102760
When you’re hitting .152 over a multiple month stretch, there’s pretty much no level of defense that can save your playing time. I’m glad Harrison is having a chance to go down and adjust and hope he can bring his average back up when he returns. The Cards can most definitely use his defense, but there has to be a level where the bat doesn’t play. That goes for other slumping Cards like Carpenter too.
As for Carlson, I appreciate the reports. I believe Derek Shore mentioned what scouts think of Carlson on defense in a member article this year as well.August 19, 2019 at 8:59 am #102777
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I like those dazzling plays Bader makes as much as any other fan. But, I’m thinking that Lane Thomas may be our centerfielder of the future. He’s always gotten good reviews about his fielding, and from what we’ve seen of him in St. Louis, he looks decent though not on a level with Bader. I haven’t given up on Adolis Garcia yet, either. If he could only cut down on his strikeouts ………….. I know there’s a lot of O’Neill love on this forum. But if they could get a really good closer for him, I think they should make that trade.August 19, 2019 at 9:13 am #102786
If we had a dynamic offense that was clicking you could get by with a gold glove CF hitting .190 but we don’t. I get Bob’s point though. Defense matters so we shouldn’t get so hung up on batting average but there is a happy medium somewhere. Watching Fowler play CF or JMart play RF gives me shivers up my spine. I just wish someday we could find enough regular OF’s who could actually hit AND field. Wouldn’t that be nice?August 19, 2019 at 3:01 pm #102859
“When you’re hitting .152 over a multiple month stretch, there’s pretty much no level of defense that can save your playing time.”
Rather than just looking at Bader, and solely by batting average, let’s look at the numbers of two similar Cardinal players by OPS instead of batting average, since part of my diatribe was specifically about some folks fixating on the latter to the detriment of the team.
If a player did hit .152 over, say, 175-200 AB’s of consistent playing time, then I’d agree with you, Card25. But that’s not at all what happened with Bader.
On June 13, Harrison Bader went 3-for-4 to lift his OPS to an excellent .817, despite a mediocre .245 batting average. With his great glovework, that would basically put him on pace for roughly a 5-6 WAR season. Something like that. So at that point, on the morning of June 14, any competent manager would theoretically be thinking of Bader as a BIG part of the baseball team, a no-doubt starter all the way.
Then Harry went ice cold for three weeks, was promptly benched, and then played so rarely (seven starts from July 6th-28th, and just 16 AB’s from the 17th-28th) that he had to be sent to the minors just to get regular playing time. Now let’s look at someone else on the 2019 Redbirds.
You want a very, very long cold streak? Try Kolten Wong. From April 19-July 4, Kolten batted .204/.273/.284. That’s a dreadful .557 OPS for two and a half months. But the manager wisely stuck with him — because the manager understood that Wong provides a lot of value even when he isn’t hitting. And moreover the manager understood that Wong was a much better batter than he was showing. The manager stuck with Wong and was eventually rewarded when Kolten got back to being the solid hitter he is.
And that’s EXACTLY what a competent manager would have done with Bader. Use the defense, wait for the offense to come back. Because of course it will come back. Because he’s never been a bad hitter, and often been an excellent one.
Entering the season, Wong and Bader were remarkably similar players, and batters. Basically, league average hitters who play great defense. Bader had in fact been the slightly better hitter pre-2019. But then, Wong had the longer track record. Anyway, the manager managed one player correctly and one incorrectly. Replacing Bader with natural bench players like Jose Martinez, and Yairo Munoz, and Tommy Edman was a blunder that could well cost the team a playoff spot this year. As we all know, sometimes a game or two makes a big, big difference.
Last word on Bader. Remember how some people back in March said Carson Kelly wouldn’t hit MLB pitching, and they based it on a handful of sporadic at-bats? And now Kelly is getting more playing time, and Voila!, he’s doing what some of us knew he’d do all along, if not better. Well, that’s Bader. Let him play, and he will hit. (Not like Carson’s hitting. But he’ll hit okay.)
“Bob, I am curious how you classify Tommy Edman, the semi-regular right fielder currently?”
Could be a switch-hitting Greg Garcia with more speed and defensive versatility. A Zobrist Lite if you will. Real, real nice bench guy who might keep adding more pop, and be a 2-3 WAR starter somewhere. Should probably be the starting third baseman right now, or at least sharing with Carpenter.
But there’s no way Tommy Edman — or Jose Martinez or Dexter Fowler or Yairo Munoz — should be playing in the outfield in place of Harry Bader. Only a poor manager does that. By the by, a 2020 bench of Edman, Munoz, Arozarena, Lane Thomas, and Andrew Knizner looks pretty darn good to me. Of course, that means dropping Fowler and Martinez, and not re-signing Wieters or of course Ozuna. (If you’re the Cards, you simply can’t pay star money to a merely solid regular like Ozuna — especially when you’ve got a multitude of potential solid regulars, and maybe even a start or two, already in the organization at the upper levels.)August 19, 2019 at 3:04 pm #102860
Mike Shildt is not a poor manager.August 19, 2019 at 3:34 pm #102865
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Carlson sure looks like an all around good player. He just adds to the mix of Thomas, Arozarena, Garcia, Bader, O’Neill. Surely, we can trade our outfield surplus for a starting pitcher. Throw in the fact that Sosa will be out of options makes him a valuable trade chip also. Sosa seems to be very streaky, and might be an attractive addition to a team looking for a middle infielder with some pop.August 19, 2019 at 4:04 pm #102868
Thanks Bob Reed, great info as always! It sounds like he could at least play there in a pinch, or on a day where there is a pitching match up advantage, etc. but should never be his main position.
I was likely over assuming, in regards to his overall speed, simply due to the steals, but I guess look at what Goldy did in regards to steals earlier in his career and I would never use the word “speedy” to describe him.
Thanks again for the detailed response Bob.
Cards27, I’m with you on the OF mix, there is just no way they can keep all of those guys. I’ve often wondered if they would have offered O’Neill, Thomas and another piece or two to the Giants in June, if they could have gotten MadBum and Will Smith…. those two easily could have ended up being the difference in missing the playoffs vs wild card, or wild card vs division.August 20, 2019 at 1:47 am #102967
“On the subject of the thread, I would be interested in seeing a bit of detail on the defensive metrics you cite for Carlson this year. Not disagreeing – just interested in learning more. Thanks.”
Sure thing, Brian. Clay Davenport and Baseball Prospectus have, to my knowledge, the only publicly available defensive values for minor leaguers. In my experience they’ve both been fairly prescient in translating to MLB defensive performance. Exceptions do happen of course. Some players get fat. (Some of them not even related to Dmitri or Delmon Young.) And some get materially better by dint of hard work.
But generally, if they look good by the Davenport & B-Pro metrics, they’ll be good in The Show. And also the other way around. I’ve been watching the numbers for quite awhile now, and I’d place reliability at 80-85%, if not higher.
So, Dylan Carlson. The Davenport tally for his center field play this season is a poor negative six runs over 87 games. The B-Pro number is even worse, at minus 12 runs. (I don’t think there’s a chance in the world that Carlson is THAT bad, even in center field. But I think he’s probably not a center fielder.)
Still, defensive metrics have a wide variance over smallish samples — and one partial season is quite small for defensive samples. And on the bright side the Texas League managers did select Carlson as Best Defensive Outfielder in the entire league. So he’s probably doing a lot of things right…even if the voting was likely influenced by his elite batting this year.
And speaking of Carlson, here’s a little Dylan Carlson gem from the most recent Fangraphs prospect chat (Longenhagen, 8/16). See if you can help me decipher the doubletalk & gibberish, Brian.
redbird: Dylan Carlson is a ways down on the list for 50 FV on the Board. Is there something holding you back from being more excited? A 20-year-old with power and speed in AA seems like something to be excited about.
Eric A Longenhagen: IDK he was on our pre-season picks to click article, so we’ve somehow gone from the high guys on him to the low because (no offense) Cardinals fans are how they are about their own players. I don’t think his level of statistical power production matches what he’s actually capable of, but hey the baseball makes a real difference so maybe I’m wrong. We like him as a good everyday player and maybe he’ll be at the top of the 50s or even a 55 in the offseason,
So that was Friday, when they still had Carlson ranked in the 90’s. Even though every other reputable individual or organization had moved him up weeks or months ago into the 30-50 range. Prospectus, Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, Keith Law. Everyone. Everyone but the buffoons.
Until today, I see! Wow, must have been some weekend to alter their opinions so dramatically, huh? Now, finally, when Longenhagen & McDaniel have become an embarrassment, they at long last move Carlson up into something like the range where he belongs — he’s now 47th.
“Cardinal fans are how they are about their players.”
How is that an answer to why Carlson was 50 spots lower on the Fangraphs list than anywhere else in the prospect-ranking community? Because of Cardinal fans? It’s not Cardinal fans who ranked Carlson 50, 60 spots higher than Fangraphs. It’s everybody who isn’t Fangraphs.
I’ve got one finger for Longenhagen. As a Cardinal fan, a baseball fan, and a person who respects intellectual honesty and integrity. You’re number one, Longenhagen. Well, it’s a joint number one for you and your Fangraphs partner in imbecility.
No offense.August 20, 2019 at 7:41 am #102969
Thanks for the reply, Bob. Unfortunately, I cannot translate. Perhaps they were in such a hurry to correct their Carlson ranking they left words out of their response.
About those metrics, what are they and how does Carlson fare in them?August 21, 2019 at 9:04 am #103196
Does anyone on here think there is a slight chance that Carlson could get called up this September?
On the surface it would seem to be an automatic no since he just made it to Memphis, he could be a strong AFL candidate, and there is a serious logjam in the OF in St. Louis. But considering the way he is tearing up Memphis and the fact this organization desperately wants to make the playoffs, I just wonder if they are giving it consideration.
Personally I wouldn’t do it but sometimes the FO surprises us.August 21, 2019 at 9:15 am #103201
His real value is that he is a switch hitter but I wouldn’t think that would call him up.August 21, 2019 at 3:11 pm #103233
“Bring Up Dylan Carlson!”
I look at why the #stlcards might want to promote their top prospect, outfielder Dylan Carlson, to the majors this season, but explain why the list of ‘why nots’ is significantly longer.https://t.co/Lo9r1pBSEJ pic.twitter.com/25AZvQpV3Z
— Brian Walton (@B_Walton) August 21, 2019August 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm #103236
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Carlson’s homer last night was a Ruthian blast to right field. He played 87 games in center field for Springfield before his callup to Memphis. Should at least qualify him for a corner outfielder.
He will cool off after the league makes adjustments to him but now he looks very tough at the plate. He seems to have made a quantum leap both in average and power this year. Not unusual for a young top prospect.August 21, 2019 at 4:12 pm #103255
I agree with everything you outlined Brian. I only brought it up in this thread because I could sense it was becoming an idea that might start receiving some attention.August 21, 2019 at 5:45 pm #103263
That is for sure. Twitter was ablaze last night. People don’t let not understanding the ramifications keep them from clamoring for the prospect flavor of the week.August 21, 2019 at 6:24 pm #103264
People say a lot of things out of ignorance. Best to just shut up until you know what you are talking about.August 21, 2019 at 7:34 pm #103270
I agree with your article 100%, the 40 man spot, the service time start and no place to get AB’s are, individually, on their own likely enough to warrant passing on bringing him up.
Randy A is the perfect example, he had been on a AA and a longer AAA tear and look at the playing time he got, never mind, we didn’t get to see hardly any…. I assume both him and Thomas will be back up in very early Sept, I got to see Thomas hit on mlbtv several times, and he genuinely looks like a solid MLB player and seemed to have good pitch recognition, small sample size obviously.
They haven’t announced official AFL players yet right? I’d like to see Angel Rondon and Johan Oviedo there. I doubt that Gorman is ready for it yet, start back at PB and moving up to AA mid year seems like the best path.August 21, 2019 at 8:03 pm #103272
They haven’t announced official AFL players yet right?
No, but subscribers are aware of a couple of players who are headed there.August 22, 2019 at 9:25 am #103329
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Spot on Brian. The whole story should change some fans thoughts on this situation.August 22, 2019 at 12:11 pm #103346
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Carlson should be called up only if they are prepared to sit someone and give him everyday exposure. Pretty risky in a pennant chase.
He is certainly ideal for the AFL as are Oviedo, Montero, Justin Williams, Woodford, Rondon, possibly Ivan Herrera and Griffin Roberts. Also maybe Kody Whitley.
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