Outfielder Dylan Carlson, one of the St. Louis Cardinals’ three first-round picks in the amateur draft last Thursday, gained his first exposure to Busch Stadium on Wednesday.
Carlson, a 17-year-old switch-hitter from Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove Calif., about 16 miles south of Sacramento, took a physical and received a $1.35-million signing bonus, which was $550,000 under the slot value for the 33rd overall selection.
Carlson opted out of his scholarship to Cal State Fullerton and will begin his professional career with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals next week.
This is the best organization in baseball. I’m doing something I’ve always dreamed of. This is just unbelievable. I can’t even put it into words, I’m so excited. I’m ready to play some baseball.
Outfielder Dylan Carlson, one of the St. Louis Cardinals’ three first-round draft choices
“This is the best organization in baseball,” Carlson said after taking batting practice on the field. “I’m doing something I’ve always dreamed of. This is just unbelievable. I can’t even put it into words, I’m so excited. I’m ready to play some baseball.”
Putting on a Cardinals uniform, Carlson said, was “surreal.”
“It’s a moment I’ll never forget,” he said. “It’s something I’ll always cherish. I appreciate this opportunity. I can’t thank the Cardinals enough.”
Carlson was one of 20 players who signed Wednesday. Among the others were: fourth-rounder Jeremy Martinez, a catcher from the University of Southern Cal; sixth-rounder Tommy Edman, a shortstop from Stanford University; eighth-rounder Sam Tewes, a right-handed pitcher from Wichita State University; ninth-rounder Matthew Fiedler, an outfielder from the University of Minnesota; and 10th-rounder Danny Hudzina, a third baseman from Western Kentucky University.
Carlson lifted a handful of drives over the wall while batting against John Mabry. Hitting is what Carlson does proficiently. He batted .407 with 13 doubles, nine home runs and 40 RBIs in 36 games. He also dominated as a pitcher, going 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA.
I can play multiple positions. It’s something I’m proud of and (something) I’ve been working on. Now that it’s time to perform, I’m going to go out and show people.
Carlson described himself as being a “versatile player.”
“I can play multiple positions,” he said. “It’s something I’m proud of and (something) I’ve been working on. Now that it’s time to perform, I’m going to go out and show people.
“I want to become a better player, strengthen myself in all areas. I’m just going to do what the Cardinals tell me to do. I’m going to do it to the best of my abilities.”
Carlson has been a switch-hitter since he was 5. Carlson’s dad, Jeff, worked with him at a young age and was also Elk Grove High’s coach.
“I feel comfortable on both sides,” Dylan Carlson said. “They both feel natural. I think I’m a strong hitter from both sides, (but) I have plenty of room to improve.”
All-Star Game balloting
The Cardinals’ Yadier Molina leads National League catchers in the race to be the starting catcher in the All-Star Game on July 12 in San Diego.
Molina has 933,300 votes, leading San Francisco’s Buster Posey (856,013), Washington’s WIlson Ramos (600,181), Chicago’s Miguel Montero (579,933) and Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy (434,029).
No other Cardinals are in the running to start in the game. Matt Carpenter is in third place among third basemen. Stephen Piscotty is in 11th place among outfielders, while Matt Holliday is in 12th place among outfielders.
Chicago players lead in the infield balloting: Anthony Rizzo at first base, Ben Zobrist at second base, Kris Bryant at third base and Addison Russell at shortstop. Chicago’s Dexter Fowler, Washington’s Bryce Harper and New York’s Yoenis Cespedes are the three leading vote-getters in the outfield.
Class AA All-Stars
Class AA Springfield has three players who will start for the North Division in the Texas League All-Star Game, led by catcher Carson Kelly.
Kelly, a second-round pick in the 2012 draft, is batting .287 with six home runs and 15 RBIs in 15 games for Springfield.
“He’s having a great year,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, adding that Springfield manager Dann Bilardello, a former catcher, has been “very complimentary” of the work being turned in by Kelly.
“Not just in the obvious statistical areas and the offense,” Matheny said. “But defensively, how he’s handling the staff, how he’s working through a pitcher not having his good stuff, how he’s handling physical issues. Anything that’s going on, it’s nice to see it through a catcher’s eyes.”
The other starters are center fielder Harrison Bader and first baseman Luke Voit. Bader, a third-round draft pick in 2015, is batting .302 with 13 homers and 30 RBIs in 61 games. Voit, a 22nd-round pick in 2013, is batting .280 with nine homers and 32 RBIs in 61 games. Voit played at nearby Missouri State.
Second baseman Bruce Caldwell, third baseman Paul DeJong and right-handed pitcher Mike Mayers also were named North Division All-Stars.
The game will be played June 28 at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo.