Scott's speed to be on display in Spring Breakout

March 14th, 2024

This story was excerpted from John Denton's Cardinals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

JUPITER, Fla. -- is fast, but you knew that already if you witnessed him swipe an eye-popping 94 bases in 2023 in the Minors, or you’ve watched him blur his way through Spring Training with the Cards. Most of the bases he’s stolen have come without the catcher even bothering to attempt to throw him out, and his standup triple on March 2 was something to behold, considering the ease with which he glided around the bases.

Scott, 23, has also sped through his individual development: He needed just one-and-a-half Minor League seasons and a stellar spring to vault himself into candidacy for the Cardinals' Opening Day roster. How about this for fast from “Vic the Quick”: In one year’s time, he’s gone from the No. 29-ranked prospect in St. Louis' system to No. 4, per MLB Pipeline.

In Scott’s torrid professional career, he has played in 163 games -- the equivalent of one Major League season. All he’s done in that time is hit .290 with 11 homers, 24 doubles, 14 triples, 75 RBIs and 107 stolen bases (in 124 tries). He backed that up with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League (a .286 average with a .388 on-base percentage, three homers, two doubles, eight RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 21 attempts over 23 games with the Scottsdale Scorpions), and he has shown exceptionally well in 11 games this spring with the Redbirds (11-for-30 -- a .367 average -- with a triple and four stolen bases in five tries).

“I’ve just tried to keep treating it like baseball,” Scott said. “It’s easy to look at some of the pitchers I’ve faced who have been in the league for a long time, and ones that I’ve seen on TV while I was in middle school, high school and college. But then I realize, ‘He’s just another guy with the ball in his hands, and he’s trying to get me out and I’m trying to beat him.’

“That chess match is a game that has to be played and I’m not looking at their names; that guy has to throw the ball to me and I’m going to be the guy to hit it hard.”

Scott’s ability to hit the ball hard and then use his blinding speed to cause havoc with the defense will be on display on Friday and Sunday when he leads the Cardinals in the inaugural Spring Breakout, a one-of-its-kind baseball forum to showcase the game’s future stars.

The Cardinals, one of two teams playing two Spring Breakout games, will have their top young talent take on the Marlins’ Minor League stars on Friday at Roger Dean Stadium at 1:05 p.m. CT, which will serve as an opener for the Cards-Marlins MLB game later that night. On Sunday, the Cards and Astros' top young talent will play at 9:05 a.m. CT, followed by a Major League spring game.

Scott is eager to showcase all his skills on the Spring Breakout stage. Whereas many Minor Leaguers toil mostly in anonymity for years before hitting it big at the MLB level, Scott has fittingly moved swiftly through St. Louis' system.

“It’s a good way to get the players who aren’t necessarily as noticed in the spotlight and let them perform on that bigger stage instead of being on the back fields,” Scott said. “It kind of gets you in that limelight and in front of some new eyes. If you can perform well, it can give you a perspective that’s different than what most people thought about you before.”

In rather fast fashion, Scott has certainly changed the perspective most had about him before. He even admits this about his meteoric metamorphosis: “I used to be a track guy who played baseball; now I’m a baseball player who used to run track.”

Scott knows that if he keeps developing at a rapid rate, he might just be able to run his way to the big leagues.

“The running game is kind of a lost art,” he said. “Some teams are looking for that guy who can hit a double, but with a guy like me, per se, I want to be able to get on base and cause havoc. I want to disorient that pitcher and keep him from focusing on the hitter. Or maybe the hitter is getting fastballs because I’ve got it rolling on the bases. Me scoring runs can really help a team out a lot.”