Cardinals, Dylan Carlson, Jordan Walker discussed on Effectively Wild: A FanGraphs Baseball Podcast


But he is learning a brand new pitching staff and he's doing so with a pitch timer and we were talking to this with a couple of relievers who said it is so important for catchers to know their sequences because when you get on the mound with a pitch timer counting down, you can't spend all this time shaking pitches off and you don't want to get yourself into a position where all of a sudden saying yes to something that you don't actually want to throw because the fish timer is at three two one and you're like okay I don't want to get dinged for a violation so let's just do this. They said since Contreras has come in a couple of pictures that I've talked to, there's been no even thought of that. There's been no issue. He is so well prepared. He's been very knowledgeable doing his research. He knows his pictures. He knows the sequences. He knows their stuff. And that's been really helpful. Certainly has not been an easy task. Like I said, but when you are, when you are dealing with a catcher with so much experience, who is actively bought into the organization, I think it really helps. And as difficult as that decision might have been to not play in the world baseball classic, I think that was a nod in the right direction for his cardinals teammates to say, okay, hey, this catcher really wants to prioritize his new team over maybe his personal endeavors or something that he would like to do for his own self. So he'll be in transgenic catcher obviously. It's funny. There are a lot of, you know, there's not a lot of mystery on this roster, but there is some in the outfield I know that there is a bit of a competition between Tyler O'Neill and Dylan Carlson for the center field job. So how do you expect that outfield configuration to shake out? Right, for me, that's the most exciting thing about this cardinals camp. I mean, the 2023 cardinals roll a rolling in with ideally almost the exact same core of their division winning 2022 squad. What I think sets the Cardinals apart in terms of their outfields is their three projected outfielders to start the opening day. To be on the opening day of roster are Tyler O'Neill Dylan Carlson and Lars zubar. And what is special about this group is all three guys can play all three outfield positions interchangeably, and they can all play them well. So the center field competition, I think, is a way to see who can the Cardinals depend on of those three to be the most consistent in center field because for as well as those three can play the outfield. They also have a top prospect named Jordan walker who projects to debut in 2023 and play the corner as well. So I'm not quite I do think that Jordan walker has a chance to make the opening day roster, especially if he hits well. He had a monster home run in his first spring training start off Johnny cueto on Sunday, went about 430 feet, and it just sounded different. But before walker can get to the big leagues, there has to be a pathway for him, and that's why the center field competition. I think is so interesting. Tyler O'Neill is going to play center field for team Canada and the world baseball classic and Lara's new bar will be out playing for team Japan, which means the Cardinals really have a limited amount of time to see who you play center here. It's really Dylan Carlson spot to win, I think. What about the bats of those guys? Because of course O'Neill had the huge breakout season in 2021 and then took a big step back offensively and missed some time last year and then Carlson sort of same deal. I think people were expecting maybe more out of him and got a little less and I know you wrote recently that he was dealing with a finger thumb hint issue of some sort that may be played a part in that. But what are the expectations for them bouncing back to what they were in 2021 or something along those lines? Yeah, the expectations are they have to hit. I mean, the defense of those three really are unquestionable. They've all proved. I mean, Tyler O'Neill has two gold gloves, Dylan Carlson, a very serviceable outfielder, same with Lars nubar. Laura's 12 at Lars took a major step forward offensively last season, O'Neill pretty much struggled all season long, and Dylan played the second half, admittedly hurt and said that was a lesson that he needed to learn and went to rest his body and take some time off. So Tyler O'Neill, the key to him being successful offensively is just to stay healthy. This is a guy that is a tremendous athlete with some tremendous power and pop in his bat, but he does have a bit of an injury history and that's really hindered him in the past. So he spent the entire off season in St. Louis, reworking his training program, working with the Cardinals training staff to make sure that he was training in a way that made him more durable for the season. Same with Dylan. When he was right, he can be a versatile piece in the Cardinals lineup. He can hit pretty much anywhere. I would think he actually did hit one through 9 at some point during the season last year. He just has to be a little bit better against right handed pitching. He's a switch hitter of the cardinals have no plans to change that, but he needs to be more consistent against variety so that he can remain a staple in the lineup, otherwise they will platoon him like they did in the second half. The hope for Dylan is talking to him that he can just be more consistent. He feels like with the hand injury behind him that this is something that he'll be able to implement more and obviously the reps with both Tyler and Lars gone for the world baseball classic will help him in the spring. You mentioned walker and how he's basically going to have to be an outfielder at this point because, you know, there's a guy we all know over at third base. I wanted to ask and he's a little further away from the majors. I would imagine, but about the future home of mason Wynn, I was there to see his incredible throw at the futures game, but it isn't as if the cardinals are hurting for infielders. So what do you think his eventual home will be when he makes the big leagues and when do you expect that he might debut? Yeah, mason went to such an electric talent, former two way player, now primarily an infielder. I think with mace and I do think there's a path of him to the Saint Louis Cardinals because no matter I don't know how they do this, but the cardinals are so good at drafting versatile pieces that can move around the infields play different positions and I think mason one is one of those guys. They value versatility, so he's a guy that can play both middle then field spots, just like Brendan Donovan, who is currently on the squad. And I do think while he may have a little bit of a blockage with Paul de young and Tommy Edmond, the Cardinals always have a way of needing that depth. They Ollie marble, their manager really likes to implement lineup fluidity. He likes to implement flexibility in that lineup and very rarely does he use the same lineup twice in two days. A mason win has a little bit to go. I believe he'll probably start the season in triple-A. They like the defense. He's working a little bit more on being a more fine tuned offensive player. He said last year, you know, he's a small guy. He is not like his good friend Jordan walker. 6 5. He's a little smaller. Profiles in the middle and Fielder. So he said he tried to get too big with his swing and double-A last year. He was trying to be the home run hitter. He was trying to hit for power and he realized last season while talking to the Cardinals player development staff. That's not the player he is. He is the line drive singles get on base, use your speed and be the steady defender on the Enfield. So that is what he is trying to do. He's young, just like Jordan, he's still working at it, but I do think there is a path 2024 as the window for mason, in my opinion. But again, you know, the Cardinals have always needed depth in their infield. So I do think that they see him as part of their long-term plan. Yeah, when we ran our interview with Randy Flores last week for prospect week, he obviously talked about walker and when and I found a photo of them from spring training and yes, the difference in stature is noticeable, especially when they're next to one another.

Coming up next