On Thursday afternoon, before rumors connecting the team to a certain left-hander began to swirl, the Cardinals announced their 2019 Minor League Players of the Year: outfielder Dylan Carlson and right-hander Angel Rondon. Both, Carlson and Rondon, have been in the organization since 2016 and played across two levels of the system in 2019, achieving several personal highs along the way.
Carlson turned 21 years old back in October, just weeks after an age-20 season worth celebrating. Carlson spent the majority of the 2019 season at Double-A Springfield. In 108 games for the Cardinals, the switch-hitting Carlson slashed .281/.364/.518 with career bests all around — 21 home runs, six triples, 24 doubles, and 18 stolen bases. Carlson was eventually named Texas League Player of the Year.
In mid-August, Carlson earned a promotion to Triple-A Memphis and dazzled us all in the final weeks of the season. Across 18 games for the Redbirds, Carlson launched five home runs while batting .361 with an OPS of 1.098. A performance like this, despite happening over such a short time frame, stays in mind for a while. It was no surprise to hear that the MiLB.com editorial staff named Carlson the Breakout Prospect of the Year.
Over on the pitching side, Rondon started 28 games this season — eight for Palm Beach and 20 for Springfield, charting a career-high 160 innings. Rondon boasted a 159:59 strikeout-to-walk ratio, by far his best in professional ball, and help his opponents to a collective .213 batting average.
In a post back in September, A.E. Schafer named Angel Rondon the 2019 Cardinals Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Here’s what he had to say about the young right-hander:
Carlson and Rondon will be recognized and receive their awards at the St. Louis BBWAA Dinner in January.