What to know about Victor Scott II as Cardinals prospect makes Opening Day roster with Dylan Carlson hurt



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The St. Louis Cardinals will be without starting center fielder Dylan Carlson to begin the season after a collision with teammate Jordan Walker resulted in a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. With Carlson slated to begin the year on the injured list, the Cardinals will turn over the center-field reins to the debuting Victor Scott II.

Scott, 23, is a former fifth-round pick by way of West Virginia University. He split last season between High- and Double-A, hitting .303/.369/.425 with nine home runs, 30 additional extra-base hits, and an otherworldly 94 stolen bases (on 108 attempts). 

Although Scott did not make our preseason top 50 ranking, he is one of the most exciting prospects in the league in our estimation. Below, we’ve offered three things you need to know about him, his game, and his potential to help the Cardinals.

1. Throwback skill set

Scott’s game feels like an homage to the ’80s. When he goes to the plate, he’s not trying to slug the ball or elevate it for maximum damage; he’s trying to hit or bunt the ball into play and leverage his elite set of wheels. He struck out just 14.5% of the time upon reaching Double-A, and he then hit nearly 65% of his batted balls on a line or on the ground. That’s a smart approach given Scott’s speed makes him a threat to reach on any batted ball that isn’t cleanly fielded — even those that remain on the infield.

Just how fast is Scott? Last fall, MLB.com reported that he had notched a 31.3 feet per second sprint speed during the Arizona Fall League. Anything above 30 feet per second is considered to be elite. 

For reference, here’s last year’s top five fastest players:

As the aforementioned stolen base totals indicate, Scott is a consistent threat to swipe a base or two after he gets on board. He knows it, and so do his opponents.

“As soon as I get on base, teams start to … try and figure out something of a plan of what to do in order to maybe stop the run game or try to prevent me from scoring,” Scott told MLB.com last year. “It’s kind of a game of chess at that point. If I move this piece, they move this piece —  just keep on playing the game.”

2. Outstanding defender

Predictably, given that Scott can cover a lot of ground in a short manner of time, he’s considered to be a very good defensive outfielder with a penchant for making highlight reel-worthy grabs. Sometimes our words just get in the way, so allow us to step aside while you consume some of Scott’s rad-as-heck defensive displays:

It’s not a stretch to imagine Scott competing for a Gold Glove Award if he receives enough playing time. There is a potential snag there, however.

3. Some questions about offensive ceiling

Despite what we wrote in the first subheading about Scott learning into his best tool, we do have some concerns about how much he’ll actually hit in the majors.

If you’ve read our prospect coverage, you know that we often express skepticism about batters who are too reliant upon hitting for average without possessing fringe or better raw power. (We generally use Brett Gardner and Sam Fuld as the reference points for how these things can go.) Scott is one of those players. His walk rate dipped under 6% at Double-A and his ISO was below .130 at both levels last season. Big-league pitchers are likely to force-feed him strikes until he proves that he can damage them.

How, precisely, that plays out is to be seen. The good news for Scott is that his abundance of secondary value, both on the basepaths and in the outfield, lowers his offensive bar. Additionally, MLB’s recent rule changes would seem to play right into his hands — particularly those that limit the amount of times a pitcher can throw over.

For a while there, it was hard to envision a player racking up enough singles and steals to hold onto a lineup spot in a slugging-obsessed league. Nowadays, there’s more instances of it happening: be it CJ Abrams, Nico Hoerner, Bryson Stott, or several others who made it work last season with at least somewhat similar profiles.

Will Scott add his name to that group over the coming months? We’ll find out. At minimum, we expect he’s going to be a fun player to watch try.





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