Welcome to another edition of Victor Scott II Mania!

If center fielder Victor Scott II is ready to run in the big leagues, I see no reason for the Cardinals to be afraid of giving him a job on the season-opening 26-man roster.

I would say this even if Tommy Edman was fine. But he isn’t. After Edman and the team made yet another miscalculation – again, why did he wait until after the 2023 season to have wrist surgery? – the club is going to do the right thing by putting Edman on the Injured List to start the season. But this obvious move should create the opening that puts Scott in center field at Dodger Stadium on March 28.

Unless Scott unravels during the next 10 days or so – unlikely – there’s no excuse for excluding him.

If the Cardinals send Scott to the minors and carry an inferior player or two instead, then shame on ‘em. And such a decision would alienate more fans at a time when they should be inspiring fans.

(Yes my friends, it’s time for another listicle!)

1. The Cardinals have no one who can steal bases like Victor Scott can steal bases.

2. The Cardinals have no one who can cover as much ground in center field as he can. Gets to the deep balls. Gets to the shallow balls. Gets to airborne balls to his left and to his right. This is no small thing, especially with Jordan Walker still in the driver’s ed stage of learning right field.

“Scott is a difference-maker on defense,” Baseball America noted.

Keith Law of The Athletic: “He can play the heck out of center field, with great reads that give him unbelievable range coupled with his speed.”

Former major-league scout Bernie Pleskoff: “He profiles as a take-charge centerfielder, with an ability to track balls off the bat and chase down drives to both gaps.”

3. The Cardinals have no one on the track like Scott, who can outrace ground balls and infield throws to turn outs into infield hits. Last season the Cardinals’ infield-hit percentage of 5.8% ranked 27th among the 30 teams. I couldn’t find an infield-hit percentage for Scott in 2023, but I’d be willing to wager it was much higher than 5.8%.

“Scott’s speed is among the best this observer has seen in quite a while,” Pleskoff wrote. “On a 20-80 scouting grade scale, Scott’s speed registers a Grade 80, which is extremely rare.”

4. No Cardinal is better constructed to take advantage of the rules changes – implemented to crank up the running game – than Scott. Not even close. The Cardinals were a cautious, slow-poke team in running the bases in 2023. Their lack of speed and aggressiveness under the umbrellas of new rules was embarrassing.

“Speed kills. And speed kills in professional baseball,” Pleskoff wrote. “Given new MLB rules, far more runs are being scored. And thanks to bigger bases, a limit on pitcher disengagements from the pitching rubber, and the pitch clock, far more bases are being stolen. Scott II profiles as the type of player that will capitalize on the new rules, and exploit any weakness regarding base stealing he senses from the opposition.”

Here’s the ledger on Scott’s base-stealing raids:

+ Summer League ball: 64 steals, 71 attempts, 90 percent success rate.

+ Arizona Fall League: 18/21, 86%.

+ Lower Class A minors: 13/16, 81.2%

+ High Class A minors: 50/57, 87.7%

+ Class AA minors: 44/51, 86.2%

Add all of that up, and Scott has stolen 251 bases in 288 attempts for an 87.1 percent success rate. That’s sensational. You want to score runs without having to wait around for someone to homer? Want to put speed into a dull offense? This is your mang.

5. Don’t assume Scott will be a slap hitter with little muscle to his hitting. His power potential surfaced later on in 2023. Scouts – including Pleskoff – saw it in the Arizona Fall League.

“He shows some true pop in his bat,” Pleskoff wrote. “He can be a home run threat as he physically matures and gains more depth to his frame.”

Another plus with Scott: superb contact skills. He doesn’t strike out much. This shows strong self awareness. Scott knows that his speed can be even more valuable and actionable by consistently putting the ball in play.

6. Sports are supposed to be fun, right? A good show. An entertaining day or night at the ballpark. Anticipation. Action. Speed, power, or both. Great pitchers vs. great hitters. More smiles and shouts and fewer yawns. The desire to watch the game instead of fooling around on the damn smartphone while you’re sitting in some of the best seats in the house. Cardinals fans were bored in 2023. You can see them on TV, constantly staring at their phones – an addiction – as the game is being played.

“Putting it mildly, Cardinals fans will love watching Victor Scott II play baseball,” Pleskoff wrote.

7. Again, what is the worry here? Why would the front office be reluctant to put Scott II on the squad? They don’t want to hurt a veteran’s feelings? Is that part of it? Well, there’s been way too much of that around this team in recent years. Are the Cardinals resistant to the idea of starting the clock on Scott’s service time? Such a consideration is offensive.

8. Does Oli Marmol want a contract extension? Having Scott on the team can help the manager. That’s because Scott has a diverse skill set than can create runs, and a defensive range and grace that can save runs. The Cardinals brought in old veterans (Matt Carpenter and Brandon Crawford) to add experience and leadership. This is something Marmol wanted. Fine. He got it. But the presence of Carpenter and Crawford is another reason why Scott should be here. He’s plenty mature at age 23. He’s obviously smart and works on his game as a professional should. But all MLB newbies could use guidance. So now that the Cardinals have allocated two bench spots to elders, doesn’t it make even more sense to have Scott in place to learn from them? I mean, what the heck is the point of bringing in senior advisers?

9. Take a look around. Young players are thriving in major-league baseball. MLB teams aren’t coddling, protecting or otherwise wimping out in their handling of elite prospects.

Did you see Evan Carter, age 20, help the Texas Rangers win a World Series last season by cultivating a .417 postseason onbase percentage? Did you see Corbin Carroll, age 22, lead Arizona to the National league pennant?

I wanted to do some research on the trends.

I started with the 2011 season – the year a 19-year old Mike Trout arrived in the big leagues with Anaheim. Here are the stats you show know …

From 2011 through 2023, a total of 210 rookie position players came to the bigs at age 23 or younger and made at least 200 plate appearances in their first seasons. Fifty eight of those players received Rookie of the Year votes. The count included 13 Rookie of the Year winners and 20 who finished second or third in the balloting.

Of the 210 rookie hitters age 23 or younger, 51 percent posted a WAR of 1.0 or better, 50 percent hit at least .260, 55% slugged over .400 and 60.4% had an OPS of .700 or better. And 40 percent put up an OPS of at least .750.

Teams that employed these rookies collectively made the playoffs 55 times.

10. The Cardinals should turn to their own history for guidance. During the expansion era, which began in 1961, the Redbirds have given extensive opportunities to 39 rookie position players age 23 or younger. The list includes Willie McGee, Albert Pujols, Ted Simmons, Yadier Molina, Keith Hernandez, Vince Coleman, Terry Pendleton, Ken Reitz, Andy Van Slyke, Jose Cruz, Dal Maxvill, Jordan Walker, Nolan Gorman – and so many more.

McGee, Simmons and Hernandez are in the Cardinals franchise Hall of Fame. Pujols and Molina will be. Maxvill and others had prominent roles on Cardinals teams that won the NL pennant and/or the World Series.

Read the room, Cardinals.

You’re running an entertainment business that needs a boost of adrenaline and excitement after last year’s unmitigated disaster. You need to energize the offense with a hitter who is much different than anyone you have.  Your pitchers need a more reliable defense that can suppress runs instead of giving them away with madcap shenanigans.

You had the foresight to draft Scott in the fifth round, and he’s probably better than you imagined. You get the credit for drafting him. He gets the credit for making the most of his talent and blooming ahead of the anticipated schedule.

This is a gift.

Take advantage of it.

Thanks for reading …


A 2023 inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Bernie hosts an opinionated and analytical sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS. It airs 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4-6 p.m. on Friday. Stream it live or grab the show podcast on 590thefan.com or through the 590 The Fan St. Louis app.

Please follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz and on Threads @miklaszb

For weekly Cards talk, listen to the “Seeing Red” podcast with Will Leitch and Miklasz via 590thefan.com or through your preferred podcast platform. Follow @seeingredpod on Twitter for a direct link.

All stats used in my baseball columns are sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, StatHead, Baseball Savant, Baseball Prospectus, Sports Info Solutions and Cot’s Contracts unless otherwise noted.

Bernie Miklasz

Bernie Miklasz

For the last 36 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.

While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. A 2023 inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Bernie, his wife Kirsten and their cats reside in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.