TCN 2013 Cards Prospect #21: Charlie Tilson

The outfielder needs to put his injury-wrecked 2012 behind him and show why he was a second-rounder.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
15 OF 12/2/1992 6-0 165 L L 2011 2nd

School: New Trier Township High School, Winnetka, IL

Selected 2012 stats
Did not play due to injury.

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (22): I think I will nickname Tilson "Cracker Jack" because I just cant wait to open the box and see what is inside. I'm really curious to find out whether the Cardinals knew what they were doing when they gave Tilson first-round money when no one really had him pegged as a first-round talent (reminds me a little of the Cards drafting and signing of James Ramsey this year without the cloud of bonus pool caps and savings).

However, a late start in 2011 and an injury in 2012 have left us all in the dark as to how much talent Tilson really has. In his first two years, Tilson has only played a total of eight games. To add even more tease to the equation, Tilson has readily received strong reviews from his time in spring training, extended spring training and the fall instructional league.

Where Tilson starts in 2013 will depend on how much he has been able to improve without real game action over the last 18 months and how aggressive the organization wants to be with him. I can see him most likely starting in Peoria in 2013 - though if the Cards do not think he is ready for that level, they could start him at Batavia.

Message board community (22): Tilson did not appear in the minors this past season, yet he only slid from 19th to 22nd on the community list. His lack of minor league time is due to surgery to repair an injury to his non-throwing shoulder.

Three things work in his favor, keeping him in this high of a position on the list. First, he has all the tools. Second, he only turned 20 this past month. Third, he had an OBP of .500 in extended spring. This is a guy who could be a plus centerfielder as he develops. We can focus on stats, but ceiling sometimes has its day. - Gagliano

Brian Walton (17): It is only natural to lose some faith in a player that gets injured and misses an entire season. That is doubly so when he had no discernable track record previously.

That does not describe my view, however. Fortunately, I saw Tilson on the field in game action this spring, in extended spring training and again in instructional league. With the exception of not being allowed to dive, he had a full green light in the fall. I liked what I saw.

Injury to a non-throwing shoulder is about the best possible of bad situations. I do not expect lingering concerns that would diminish any of the reasons Tilson was so highly thought of on Draft Day 2011.

Let's hope so, because at this point, Tilson is the fourth-ranked outfielder in the entire system – after only Oscar Taveras, Anthony Garcia and James Ramsey. To prove that placement is justified, he has to make up some lost time in 2013.

Our 2013 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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