Prospect Talk

Prospect Spotlight: Victor Scott II, St. Louis Cardinals

95 stolen bases…95 stolen bases in 132 games last year between High-A and Double-A. I had half a mind to end the article right here if I`m being honest with you. However, Victor Scott II (or Argo, if you want to go by his rap name, shoutout to David Laurila at Fangraphs for that nugget) deserves more respect than that. Drafted in the fifth round out of West Virginia University in 2022 by the Cardinals, Scott II played 31 games at Single-A after being drafted and he did…ok. He showed an impressive sense of the zone with a 16.9% walk rate and only striking out 18% of the time and stealing 13 bases.

Coming into the `23 campaign, the Cardinals promoted him to High-A where he did ok to start the year. Through the end of May, Scott was hitting .269/.351/.406 with 2 home runs and 32 steals, like I said, it was ok but nothing earth shattering. He made a slight swing change around the end of May, getting shorter to the ball and this seemed to unlock something in his swing that allowed him to get more barrels on the ball.

Look, it`s not worth much being first on to a player and to believe in them but from May on I was pretty vocal about Scott II and that he should be a player to watch *pats self on back* I also thought Robert Hassell III was also going to be a thing though *takes pat back. * I may have been one of the first on to Argo, but his stock has risen dramatically since the summer months and is now an almost consensus Top 100 prospect. I think he should be in the top 30 personally and will rank him as such when the time comes. I truly believe he can be a difference maker on a fantasy team and that the period to go out and get him for relatively cheap is closing fast as more lists come out that talk about “sleeper prospects.”

So, what could you realistically expect from Scott II this year and going forward? Let`s get this out of the way first, I don`t think he`s breaking camp with the big-league team, he has yet to reach Triple-A and only had 300 plate appearances at Double-A. It`s not inconceivable that he would begin the year in Springfield for a month and after he has shown a mastery of that level to quickly make the trip down route-60 East to Memphis and the Redbirds where if he continues hitting would be an option for the Cardinals come post All-Star break. I could be wrong, and he could break camp with them, but it`s currently -5 degrees in the middle of January and I`m speculating here for crying out loud.

There is also the question of roster construction and how he can break into the lineup without injury. As it stands now, Edman is slotted in for center field and is one of the top defenders out there while you have Nootbaar and Walker in the corners. All of them are quality hitters and Walker is the only one that is a detriment in the outfield, but I don`t see them having a 22-year-old forgo playing defense and have him DH full time. Edman also plays a slick second base so he could conceivably play there bumping Donovan to fill in the gaps and DH with Scott playing center. The problem is you also have Thomas Saggese waiting in the wings *who I also love* which clouds the picture even more. All of this to say I think the Cardinals take a massive step forward this year which makes my Pirate`s heart hurt.

If you`ve stayed with my ramblings this long congratulations, you`ve now made it to the part where I explain how I think Scott II will do in the majors. Assuming he will keep a sub 20% strike out rate, which is a reasonable assumption with his low chase rate and high contact ability I think he can run a .250ish batting average and have a low .310`s OBP right out of the gate as he gets acclimated to the level. That doesn`t sound great, but in 2016 in the throes of Billy-mania, Billy Hamilton hit .260/.321/.343 and had 58 steals in a little over 400 plate appearances.

With the new rules in place, if Scott II was called up at the break and got 300 plate appearances, I feel comfortable projecting him for 35+ steals while not sinking you in any category. After this year? The sky is the limit and in his peak years I could see .280/.335/.400 with 10ish home runs and 100 steals if he stays healthy. Once he comes up, he will be locked into that centerfield position and most likely hitting at the top of the order for years to come.

I wouldn`t be shocked that at this time next year, or the year after that, that Scott II will be going in the first three rounds of all draft formats.

Or as they say, to the Victor go the spoils…or something like that.

The Author

Ryan Epperson

Ryan Epperson

Lead prospect analyst and managing editor for The Dynasty Guru.

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