That's two surprises the Cardinals have sprung on me tonight. Earlier, in my final wrap before the draft, I predicted a college-heavy approach but did say that if one of the big high school position players fell the Cards could choose to be more opportunistic. They certainly did that with their first pick, jumping on Delvin Perez, the uber-talented shortstop prospect from Puerto Rico whose stock fell because of a positive PED test.
With their second pick, number 33 overall, the Cards pulled another surprising name out of the hat, though this one is for a different reason. Dylan Carlson just missed out on being part of one of my Persons of Interest posts, which as I'm sure many of you will remember is essentially coverage of players who don't belong in the first round conversation, but could become interesting at some point.
Well, apparently Carlson did belong in the first round conversation, since he is now a first round draft pick.
Carlson in not a premium athlete. He has average speed, and may slow down a bit more as he continues to fill out. He's already pretty full, though; Max Guzman is the poster boy for the bad-body high school slugger in this draft, but Dylan Carlson might be in the background of that poster. It's not a bad body, but it's a thick body for a kid who's still just seventeen. He's maybe a corner outfielder, but personally I like him better at first base. He moves around extremely well in the dirt, with outstanding footwork. Just don't ask him to run long distances, because he's not nearly as good at that.
I'll tell you something else about Dylan Carlson, though: Dylan Carlson can flat-out hit.
He's a switch-hitter, and I see no reason not to continue developing him that way. Both swings are good, with that standard sort of divide most switch-hitters have, where the contact skills are better from the right side but the power is better from the left. Why that's the case I don't know, but it certainly seems to be a thing.
Even saying that, though, there's plus raw power from both sides, and an ability to control the zone, at least against high school competition. Carlson is also extraordinarily young for this draft; he won't turn eighteen until early next year. Both Perez and Carlson, in fact, are very young for this draft class, which is an interesting connection between them.
Dylan Carlson is not a premium athlete, and is not going to be the sort of five-tool, dynamic contributor you might think of from a high school kid. Instead, what you're getting is tremendous feel to hit, and big-time power potential down the road.
This feels like a reach to me, if I'm being honest. Not because I don't like Carlson; I actually, quite a lot. But I have to believe he would have still been around at 70, if the Cardinals really wanted him. But, there's a chance they had better information about some other team who liked him, also, so I hesitate to go too hard on saying they should have waited to draft him.
You got a dynamic, potential cornerstone talent with the first pick. With the second, you took a bat. A slightly unusual profile for a bat, but he's definitely got the bat.
So far, I'm very much on board with this draft.
via Baseball Factory: