If you're not paying attention to Dylan Carlson, it's time to start.
You know a prospect is getting hot when you start seeing eBay sellers putting the word "HOT" in the title of their listings (either that or the flame emojis).
They aren't wrong.
Nolan Gorman may still be listed as the top prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals organization on mlb.com, but Carlson is poised to be an impact player in the major leagues as early as 2020 and is looking more and more like the Cardinals top prospect moving forward.
If you follow the Cardinals and paid attention during Spring Training, you may have noticed this relatively unknown 20-year-old prospect was gobbling up at-bats. It was evident the Cardinals were taking a long look at the young switch-hitting outfielder that can play all three outfield positions defensively. And yes, he is young. He was the youngest player with the Cards in camp this past spring and has been one of the youngest players at every level of his development thus far.
The true test for most prospects is how they perform in Double-A ball. This is where the talent level takes a big leap from the Single-A and lower ranks. Carlson is currently playing for the Cardinals Double-A affiliate, Springfield, where he is just a shade under four years younger than the average age for players in the league.
How is he responding?
He's having the best year of his young career. Carlson is currently slashing .291/.371/.529 and has cranked 16 homers in the process. One of the biggest challenges facing hitting prospects as they develop is their strike zone awareness, where Carlson seems fairly polished at this point already in his development. This is a major reason why he is having the success he is this season, and also why he could be primed for future success. His performance in 2019 has him rocketing up the prospect rankings and collectors should surely be taking note.
Drafted in the first round (33) of the 2016 MLB Draft, you can find Carlson's first Bowman cards in 2016 Bowman Draft. So far in July, Carlson's base auto has been selling on eBay for between $50-75 and you can still pretty much grab them for under $75. This is a great value and good time to stock up. I do not foresee his card values remaining this low much longer.
The curve on the rising values of his cards may be very similar to Pete Alonso, who also has his first Bowman in 2016 Draft. Carlson doesn't have the raw power of Alonso, but he plays for a more collectible franchise. If you recall, Alonso's cards were very attainable headed into the 2019 season, started to creep up in value when he was named to the Opening Day Roster and now after his meteoric performance, have exploded.
I'm not saying Carlson's card values will ever reach where Alonso's are today (they may or may not), but the trend should be similar headed into the 2020 season (when Carlson should make his debut). I will be coming out with my top ten players you probably aren't collecting list in early August, and Carlson will definitely be on that list.
Money Mitch Ratings:
Dylan Carlson - Buy. Barring injury or some other crazy news, he seems like the real deal. I view him as the Cardinals top prospect and his cards should continue to increase in value.
Nolan Gorman - Hold. Gorman's values have dropped due to some mediocre play during the first half of 2019, but he's still a highly-touted prospect. I recommend holding (if you have any) or even buying if the price is right.