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Cardinals prospect Charlie Tilson: Staying healthy in the Texas League

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Charlie Tilson
Charlie Tilson
Walt Barnard, SBNation/Vox Media

Fantasy owners in traditional league formats are always on the lookout for stolen base sources. One player of interest in that department is outfielder Charlie Tilson of the St. Louis Cardinals system. He currently leads the Double-A Texas League with 39 stolen bases, while producing a solid overall line of .292/.348/.376, with 38 walks and 58 strikeouts in 425 at-bats. His overall production is just a hair above league norms at wRC+102, but Tilson has a broad range of abilities that bear watching.

A second round pick in 2011 from high school in Winnetka, Illinois, Tilson's career was dealt an early blow by a shoulder injury that cost him all of 2012. He shook off enough rust to hit .303/.349/.388 with 15 steals in the Low-A Midwest League in 2013. He continued to hit well in A-Ball in 2014 with a .308/.357/.414 line with 10 steals in the High-A Florida State League, but had problems after a late promotion to Double-A Springfield, hitting just .237/.269/.324 in 139 at-bats.

Injuries hit Tilson again when he broke a foot and missed all of the 2014 Arizona Fall League. Thankfully, the injury healed properly and he's stayed healthy in the Texas League this year, still showing plus speed and demonstrating more oomph with the bat. Although not a home run hitter, he isn't punchless and will occasionally surprise with a long drive, like so:

Tilson's athleticism also shows up on defense. His range works very well in center field and his arm isn't bad. Tilson needs to improve his stolen base success ratio (he's been caught 14 times this year) but has the baseball aptitude and work ethic to make the needed improvements.

Overall, Tilson's profile is that of a fourth outfielder, albeit one who could have a productive career with speed, defense, and enough bat to keep the pitchers honest.