Carlson received an invitation to big-league camp Friday. Carlson is still just 21 years old, but he could be given legitimate consideration for an Opening Day roster spot. The Cardinals can certainly play service-time games with him, as he's only appeared in 18 games at the Triple-A level, but his .292/.372/.542 slash line at the two highest levels of the minors last season suggests he's very close to big-league ready.
Carlson, who's slashing .385/.439/.654 across his first 57 plate appearances at Triple-A Memphis, is expected to compete for a spot on the 2020 Opening Day roster, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Dispatch reports. The switch-hitting phenom just added Texas League Player of the Year honors to his extensive list of minor-league accomplishments Tuesday, as he continues to raise expectations at every stop in the organizational ranks. Carlson earned his latest accolade by pacing the league in home runs (21) and slugging percentage (.518), numbers that still top the leaderboard multiple weeks after the 20-year-old was promoted to Triple-A Memphis from Double-A Springfield. Carlson has already received an invite to the Arizona Fall League as well, but the organization is still contemplating whether to allow him to participate or have him rest up after his eventful campaign and begin preparing to compete for a big-league roster spot next spring. It's also worth noting Carlson has earned recent praise for his defensive work, as he's impressed while shifting over to center field with the Redbirds following Harrison Bader's return to the majors.
Carlson is hitting .552 (16-for-29) with three doubles, one triple, two home runs, six RBI, four walks and eight runs over his first seven games with Triple-A Memphis. The highly promising 20-year-old has made a mockery of Triple-A pitching early, with his 3-for-4, two-RBI, two-run effort against Round Rock on Wednesday serving as his sixth consecutive multi-hit tally. Carlson was slashing a solid .281/.364/.518 with 21 homers and 59 RBI with Double-A Springfield before his promotion to the Redbirds, but early returns in Memphis seem to imply he could be even better at the level closest to the majors for the balance of the minor-league campaign.
Carlson, who's hitting .317 overall in his last 10 games at Double-A Springfield, went 3-for-4 with two solo home runs in a win over Amarillo on Wednesday. Carlson left the yard in the first and fifth innings for the first multi-homer game of his young career. The 20-year-old's first exposure to Double-A pitching this season has been a rousing success, as he's now slashing .291/.371/.529 with 41 extra-base hits (19 doubles along with a career-high six triples and 16 homers), 51 RBI, 40 walks, 13 stolen bases and 69 runs across 86 games.
Carlson received an invite to the 2019 All-Star Futures Game on Friday, Shaun O'Neill of MLB.com reports. The promising outfielder is enjoying a solid season at Double-A Springfield, slashing .287/.367/.507 with 32 extra-base hits (15 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs) and 44 RBI. This is Carlson's first season at the Double-A level after splitting 2018 between Low-A Peoria and High-A Palm Beach, and both his current batting average and slugging percentage encouragingly qualify as career bests.
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