In the midst of a breakout season, Dylan Carlson earned his first Futures Game selection this year. The 20-year-old opened eyes with two of the 12 highest exit velocities (102.6 mph, 96.6 mph) in the game.
And since returning from Cleveland, Carlson hasn't slowed down.
The second-ranked St. Louis prospect turned in his second straight three-hit effort since returning from Cleveland -- and added a walk and two runs -- as Double-A Springfield upended Tulsa, 8-4, at ONEOK Field on Wednesday.
Video: Cardinals' Carlson tallies third hit
"It's definitely been a build-up," Carlso told MiLB.com on Sunday. "It's been a process all throughout the Minors. I'm real grateful for all the struggles I've had, because I don't think I would be here without them."
The switch-hitter has gone 6-for-10 with a double, a walk and five runs scored over his past two games. Carlson is sporting a .292/.374/.516 slash line with a .890 OPS. He has nine three-hit performances through 80 games this season, but Wednesday marked the first time he delivered one in consecutive contesnts.
MLB.com's No. 88 overall prospect ranks among the top 10 in 13 Texas League categories. His 63 runs and 37 extra-base hits pace the circuit. Carlson's 159 total bases stand second in the league with six triples (third), .516 slugging percentage (third), .890 OPS (fourth), 13 homers (fifth), .374 OBP (fifth), 90 hits (seventh), 18 doubles (seventh), 46 RBIs (seventh), 39 walks (seventh) and .292 average (10th) rounding out the list.
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"Really honing in and focusing on my approach, that's something I've changed," he said Sunday. "Not just my approach, but my plan for the game has changed a little bit. I really try to go up there and have some intent with what I'm doing and do some damage.
"For me, I wouldn't say [I was being] too passive, but I would give in to the way pitchers would pitch to me. I would kind of just think if this pitcher is going to try to get me out a certain way, I would try to hit to how he was trying to get me out as opposed to sticking to what I'm good at."
Against the Drillers, the 2016 first-rounder led off the game with a base hit to the right side of the infield that beat the shift. Carlson promptly swiped his 13th bag of the season and crossed the plate two batters later when Jose Godoy grounded out on a slow roller to second base.
2019 MiLB include
In the fourth, he lined the sixth pitch against right-handed starter J.D. Martin back up the middle to set Springfield up with runners on the corners and one out. Michael Perri brought in Rayder Ascanio from third with an infield hit to the shortstop, and Carlson scored on a 3-2 double play off the bat of Godoy.
After flying out to lead off the sixth, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound outfielder extended the seventh by legging out a two-out knock to second base on an 0-2 pitch from righty Yordy Cabrera.
In the ninth, Carlson walked on four pitches by right-hander Logan Landon with two outs. He was stranded there when Perri popped out to end the frame.
The California native made his third trip to big league camp this spring and he believes that's where something finally clicked for him. In 23 Grapefruit League games with the Cardinals he finished 11-for-44 (.250) with a dinger, two doubles, five walks, eight runs scored and for RBIs.
"Talking to the guys, some things like my exit velo started to increase, because all I was doing was focusing on hitting pitches I could handle as opposed to hitting the pitches they were throwing me. I think my intent-switching helped me," he said.
Video: Springfield's Toerner makes spectacular grab
Ascanio also turned in a three-hit performance for the Cardinals with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI while Justin Toerner and Perri chipped in a pair of hits apiece. Perri walked and drove in a run, Toerner walked, scored and made a highlight-reel play in the field. Godoy, Zach Kirtley and starter Angel Rondon (4-1) all finished with a pair of RBIs.
Dodgers No. 26 prospect Cristian Santana extended his hitting streak to 11 games with two knocks and an RBI. Zach McKinstry led the Drillers' offense with three hits -- including a double -- a walk, two RBIs and a pair of runs scored.