The All-Star Futures Game is one of my favorite events of the entire baseball season.
There's something so exciting about seeing a young player in this game, and then being able to recall the exact moment you first discovered them for yourself once they've made it to the big leagues.
In 2009 at the Futures Game in St. Louis, Madison Bumgarner, Starlin Castro Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton, Carlos Santana and Jason Heyward introduced themselves to the baseball world at large. Looking back on the program I bought that day at Busch Stadium is like a blast from the past.
There have also been signs of things to come when it comes to Cardinals representatives at the Futures Game. Carlos Martinez, Shelby Miller, Dakota Hudson, Kolten Wong and Jack Flaherty are all alums of the game.
I do still get amused (not in a good way) seeing Brett Wallace and Daryl Jones on the roster representing the Cardinals for that 2009 game.
Dylan Carlson and Nolan Gorman are no Brett Wallace or Daryl Jones.
Carlson and Gorman are bona fide studs who could very well find themselves playing in the actual All-Star Game someday.
In this year's contest, Carlson started in right field and went 1-2 with a sharply hit single for an RBI. Gorman entered as a pinch runner in the fourth inning, and then struck out looking in his only at-bat.
The Cardinals' top two prospects are the only St. Louis farmhands appearing on MLB.com's top 100 prospects list.
Carlson was taken with pick number 33 by the Cardinals in the 2016 draft. This season, he's the talk of Springfield. He's hitting .282 with 13 home runs and 46 RBI for the Cardinals' AA affiliate. He also has 12 stolen bases.
Gorman probably possesses more power potential than any Cardinals prospect since Albert Pujols. The 19-year-old third baseman is ranked the 30th best prospect in baseball my MLB.com, and is the top prospect at his position. He has 28 home runs in 143 minor league games. That's an average of a home run every five games. He was recently promoted to the Cardinals' High A affiliate in Palm Beach.
So when could we see them in St. Louis?
Neither Carlson or Gorman is currently on the Cardinals' 40-man roster, so don't count on seeing them in the bigs any time in the immediate future.
Carlson though, could force his way there soon, especially if Marcell Ozuna decides to take his talents elsewhere in free agency.
Harrison Bader has regressed so far in 2019 and Tyler O'Neill has yet to bust out that big league power potential we've been waiting on. This could create an opening for Carlson to shoot through the system as the new, young outfield option. Again, he is just 20, so there's no rush.
Gorman will likely take even longer than Carlson to reach the big leagues.
The first ever draft pick to be born in the 2000's, the Cardinals will take their time developing Gorman and his monster power.
Matt Carpenter is signed to be the third baseman in St. Louis through 2021. Maybe Gorman will be ready by then to take over at the hot corner?
Regardless of how long it takes Carlson and Gorman to get major league ready, the Cardinals should make sure they're pretty much untouchable when it comes to trade talks.
These are the two guys I'm not moving. Almost no matter what. I'll leave some wiggle room in there in case a deal pops up that's too good to pass up, but I want to see these two in Cardinals uniforms to start their careers.
Developing minor leaguers (especially pitchers) into major league contributors has been the Cardinals bread and butter for a while now. In Carlson and Gorman, they have perhaps their best shot at creating a home grown positional star (certainly a debate could be hatched here including Paul DeJong and some others) this decade.