A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with St. Louis Cardinals prospect Dylan Carlson. Carlson currently plays for Class A Peoria as one of the Cardinals top outfield prospects in the minor leagues. Plummer was the Cardinals First Round Draft Pick in 2016. Dylan is only 18 year old so in terms of prospects he is one of the younger players in Class A. Dylan talked to me about his approach and how the biggest change from high school to the pros has been the mental aspect of the game. NOTE – (A.C. can stand for Arch City or for me, Andy Cockerill – your choice.)
A.C. – You got that one at bat this year in Spring Training – what was that like?
Dylan Carlson – It was really exciting. It was a great opportunity. I felt very fortunate and happy to be up there and learn from how the guys go about their business. It was something special to watch.
A.C. – A year ago you were in high school – now here you are in pro ball – what has been the biggest change for you?
Dylan Carlson – The biggest change I’d say is just playing everyday. It’s something you have to get used to. You have to come to the park each and everyday ready to play – that’s probably been the biggest adjustment for me so far.
A.C. – When you were down in spring training this year, were there any guys on the Cardinals who helped you out or mentored you?
Dylan Carlson – Definitely. A lot of AA & AAA guys helped me (Dylan was invited to Step Camp), guys like Alex Mejia & Blake Drake helped me a lot. What I took away from them is how they approach the game, how they view the game, how they go about their business, how they take care of themselves – the whole mental aspect was something I took away. I’m now taking aspects of what I learned and have been making them part of my game.
A.C. – The previous game I had seen Dylan. He drew a few walks, and hit one to the track (on a warm night it surely would have went out). I asked him if he was starting to feel “locked in”.
Dylan Carlson – I’m just trying to up there and take quality at bats to help my team win. That’s my focus. Just try to get better everyday.
A.C. – What’s the most challenging part of the game for you?
Dylan Carlson – I’d say my approach. I try to stay consistent. Mentally taking each at bat, and adjusting my mental approach to what’s needed for me that day/that at bat. That’s what I’ve been working on.
A.C. – Any players you looked up toward or tried to model your game after?
Dylan Carlson – I always liked Carlos Beltran. A switch hitter and outfielder, even Mark Texierra. Guys who have just consistently got it done at the big league level.
A.C. – As a switch hitter yourself – when did you become a switch hitter?
Dylan Carlson – I’ve been switch hitting for a long time. I started right handed but have been switch hitting since I was 5 or 6 years old.
A.C. – Being in A ball – Are there any specific things that you’re trying to work on to get to the next level?
Dylan Carlson – It’s all about my mental approach. Just how you compete and go about your business each day. I try to keep adjusting my game to get better each and everyday.
For just being 18, Carlson is a guy who fans should really take notice of. After a bit of a slow start in his professional debut he is hitting over .300 in his last 10 games. I think the Cardinals would like to see him play everyday in Peoria for a season before they even think about moving him up. Getting a talent like Carlson in the system at the age of 18 really could be huge for both the Cardinals and himself. A lot of guys come out of college at 22 and report to a short season league or A ball. By the time Carlson is 22 he could very well be in Class AA and just a call up away from making his debut in St. Louis.
You can follow Dylan @DCarls_06