Could Dylan Carlson Be the Yankees' Game-Changing Trade Acquisition? - footballivenews
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Could Dylan Carlson Be the Yankees’ Game-Changing Trade Acquisition?



In the upcoming offseason, the Yankees are intensely focused on reinforcing their starting pitching and outfield positions. High-profile names like Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Juan Soto, and Cody Bellinger are circulating in the rumor mill as potential targets for the team.

If the pursuit of Soto and Bellinger falls through, the outfield options for the Yankees take a hit in quality. This is where Dylan Carlson comes into play as a potential candidate to strengthen the Yankees’ outfield.

2023 Statistics: 76 games, 255 PA, .219/.318/.333, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 84 wRC+, +2 Outs Above Average, 0.2 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Depth Charts Projections: 58 games, 252 PA, .257/.343/.421, 7 HR, 29 RBI, 111 wRC+, 1.2 fWAR

Contract Status: Projected to earn $2.1 million in the first of three years of arbitration eligibility. Free agent following the 2026 season.

Carlson had a breakout sophomore campaign in 2021, displaying power with 18 home runs and finishing with a 111 wRC+ and 2.5 fWAR in 149 games. His offensive profile has strengths and weaknesses, making contact not being a standout feature. However, as a switch-hitter excelling at avoiding chasing out of the zone, he could bring a different dynamic to the Yankees lineup.

Despite a dip in offensive performance in 2022, Carlson compensated with improved defensive skills, finishing with +3 OAA, including four in centerfield. While his sprint speed is around league average and initial jumps on fly balls may be subpar, Carlson compensates with one of the strongest outfield arms and efficient routes among MLB outfielders.

Injuries have been a concern, with multiple setbacks in 2022, including hamstring and thumb ailments. Major issues like a left oblique strain and persistent left ankle injuries resulted in season-ending ankle surgery. Expected to recover by spring training, Carlson’s availability hinges on overcoming injury challenges.

2023 was meant to be Carlson’s breakout year, especially with the center field job up for grabs, but injuries hindered his progress. Despite his limited appearances, he showcased positive developments, ranking in the top 30 percent league-wide in strikeout and walk rates among batters with at least 250 plate appearances. However, considering the injury setbacks and a decline in the hit tool, questions arise about his suitability for a starting role. FanGraphs projects a resurgence in 2024, but the expectation of him missing over half the season raises doubts.

Availability-wise, Carlson could be attainable due to the crowded St. Louis outfield. With players like Nootbaar, O’Neill, and top prospect Jordan Walker securing starting spots, Carlson might end up as the fifth outfielder or face exclusion from the major league roster.

Given his elevated payroll projection of $2.1 million, one less year of team control, and a history of injuries, acquiring Carlson could be a more feasible task compared to other options. However, relying on him as a full-time starter raises concerns, and his addition should be viewed as supplemental depth rather than a primary solution. Supplementing the outfield depth post-securing a full-time outfielder through free agency or trades should be the Yankees’ strategy.

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