#26—Carson Sands

The first high school player drafted by the Cubs last June, Carson Sands turned down a scholarship to Florida State and signed a $1.1 million bonus to turn pro. He was impressive in his debut season in the Arizona Rookie League with a fastball touching the mid-90s.

Name: Carson Sands, P
Age: 19 (3/28/1995)
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 205 pounds
How acquired: Drafted in 4th round 2014, # 195 overall, out of North Florida Christian High School. Scouted by Tom Clark.

2014 Team
Mesa Cubs, Arizona Rookie League, (9 G, 3-1, 1.89 ERA, 19 IP, 7 BB, 20 K, 1.16 WHIP)

Prior to Cubs
A gold medal winner for Team USA with the 18-and-under team in 2012, Sands spent three years pitching for the national team and prepped at North Florida Christian High School in Tallahassee. After going 7-2 with a 1.28 ERA as a junior, Sands capped off his high school career with an 11-1 mark and a 0.58 ERA in 60.2 innings. He recorded 100 punchouts with 24 walks, and helped lead the Eagles to the 3A state title. His prep career earned the left-hander a scholarship to Florida State.

2014 Season
After agreeing to a $1.1 million signing bonus, Sands took the mound July 11 for his debut, striking out in a pair in an inning against the Mariners in his first career start. The Florida native earned his first pro win his next outing in relief, with another 1-2-3 inning with two punchouts. The lefty made nine appearances in the Arizona Rookie League, working 19 innings. He fanned 20, had a WHIP of 1.16 and allowed four earned runs. Reports out of Arizona had Sands’ fastball sitting in the 91-94 range with a good curve and improving change-up. He has a smooth delivery that’s easily repeated, and finishes strong.

2015 Outlook
Sands will likely be chomping at the bit to get out of Mesa by the time June rolls around when he’ll be off to Eugene and the Northwest League. Of the three high school arms selected on day two of the draft, Sands has the highest projection but some of that is based on his frame, standing 6-foot-3 and weighing over 200 pounds. Still a few years away from the majors under the best of conditions, Sands needs to remain healthy and show command of his three pitches to make it to Wrigley. With three years of USA ball under his belt and turning 20 by opening day, Sands may be the high school arm that breaks the Cubs current mold of one level per year.

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