Carvajal Looks For More Control

It has been an up-and-down career so far for the young right-hander. But after bouncing from city to city during his early years, it appears he has found a home in the Mets' system. With a strong arm and a willingness to learn, his future looks positive as he trains closely with the organization's coaches and coordinators.

Two years ago, a 20-year-old Marcos Carvajal spent the entire season as a reliever with the Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies were one of six Major League organizations Carvajal has been with, although he has only taken the mound with four. Still, that is a lot of bouncing around for the young right-hander from Venezuela.

"For me it's been nothing," Carvajal said.

Carvajal did not fair well with the Rockies, finishing with a 5.09 ERA in 53 innings. His 47 strikeouts, however, were encouraging. After spending all of 2006 with Double-A Montgomery in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' minor league system, and finishing with a 3.86 ERA, the Mets signed Carvajal to their 40-man roster on March 2.

In 2007, he has once again spent the entire season at Double-A, in Binghamton. He has a 4.09 ERA based on two bad months: April and June, and two good, May and July (thus far). His ERA for April and June combined was an even 6.00. In May and July, his ERA was 2.73. There has been one main difference: he has started 19 of his 20 games.

At 6-foot-4, 175 pounds, Carvajal has a projectable frame. And his stuff—a low-90's fastball, a power slurve and a changeup—standout compared to other Eastern League pitchers. But entering this year, he only had 11 starts in 121 games.

"To me he's one of the most improved pitchers here from when we started in the spring," said Mets minor league pitching coordinator Rick Waits. "(Carvajal) didn't have a repeatable delivery. He had a great changeup, he needed to working on his breaking ball and he needed to work on his fastball command."

"His breaking ball's improved, his fastball's improved. He's going deeper into the game, and to me, he's got that smile back on his face."

On July 20, Carvajal allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings in the first game of a doubleheader against the Portland Sea Dogs at NYSEG Stadium. He gave up two runs in the first and was charged with two runs in the seventh before exiting with one out.

But in the second and third innings, Carvajal retired the side in order. In the fourth, he worked around a leadoff double. And in the fifth, he worked around two errors from shortstop Ryan Coultas. Again in the sixth, Carvajal set down Portland one-two-three, keeping the B-Mets, who trailed 2-1, in the game.

"He was a bulldog that game," Waits said. "He had some trouble and he worked out of it."

He followed that performance with a sharp six inning performance against the Altoona Curve on July 25. That night, he gave up two runs and eight hits, earning his fifth victory of the season.

Both Waits and B-Mets pitching coach Ricky Bones have seen improvement from Carvajal in the short term.

"His curveball we've been working on hard this year to get him a third pitch, and he has progressed," Bones said.

"It was a delightful side (throwing session the day after) because there's not much to work on," Waits added.

It is just the little things with Carvajal: getting better control over his fastball, staying low and away, getting used to starting, refining his breaking ball. He has been a Major League pitcher, the stuff is there—but that is something Bones warns Carvajal should not rest on.

"He's got a little bit of experience, though I don't think that's going to give him a big edge," Bones said. "And the reason he is working at this level is so he can make up some innings that he missed the previous years (not starting)."

"It's a lot for a 22-year-old to take in. Just being moved around between six teams is a lot for a 22-year-old. But not more than I can handle," Carvajal said.

"If you play baseball you play for other organizations (as well as your own), everybody," Carvajal said. "You're not playing just for that team—everybody's looking for a pitcher, a hitter, a whatever."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nTwo years ago, a 20-year-old Marcos Carvajal spent the entire season as a reliever with the Colorado Rockies.
\r\n
\r\nThe Rockies were one of six Major League organizations Carvajal has been with, although he has only taken the mound with four. Still, that is a lot of bouncing around for the young right-hander from Venezuela.
\r\n
\r\n\"For me it's been nothing,\" Carvajal said.
\r\n
\r\nCarvajal did not fair well with the Rockies, finishing with a 5.09 ERA in 53 innings. His 47 strikeouts, however, were encouraging. After spending all of 2006 with Double-A Montgomery in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' minor league system, and finishing with a 3.86 ERA, the Mets signed Carvajal to their 40-man roster on March 2.
\r\n
\r\nIn 2007, he has once again spent the entire season at Double-A, in Binghamton. He has a 4.09 ERA based on two bad months: April and June, and two good, May and July (thus far). His ERA for April and June combined was an even 6.00. In May and July, his ERA was 2.73. There has been one main difference: he has started 19 of his 20 games.
\r\n
\r\nAt 6-foot-4, 175 pounds, Carvajal has a projectable frame. And his stuff—a low-90's fastball, a power slurve and a changeup—standout compared to other Eastern League pitchers. But entering this year, he only had 11 starts in 121 games.
\r\n
\r\n\"To me he's one of the most improved pitchers here from when we started in the spring,\" said Mets minor league pitching coordinator Rick Waits. \"(Carvajal) didn't have a repeatable delivery. He had a great changeup, he needed to working on his breaking ball and he needed to work on his fastball command.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"His breaking ball's improved, his fastball's improved. He's going deeper into the game, and to me, he's got that smile back on his face.\"
\r\n
\r\nOn July 20, Carvajal allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings in the first game of a doubleheader against the Portland Sea Dogs at NYSEG Stadium. He gave up two runs in the first and was charged with two runs in the seventh before exiting with one out.
\r\n
\r\nBut in the second and third innings, Carvajal retired the side in order. In the fourth, he worked around a leadoff double. And in the fifth, he worked around two errors from shortstop Ryan Coultas. Again in the sixth, Carvajal set down Portland one-two-three, keeping the B-Mets, who trailed 2-1, in the game.
\r\n
\r\n\"He was a bulldog that game,\" Waits said. \"He had some trouble and he worked out of it.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe followed that performance with a sharp six inning performance against the Altoona \r\nCurve on July 25. That night, he gave up two runs and eight hits, earning his fifth victory of the season.
\r\n
\r\nBoth Waits and B-Mets pitching coach Ricky Bones have seen improvement from Carvajal in the short term.
\r\n
\r\n\"His curveball we've been working on hard this year to get him a third pitch, and he has progressed,\" Bones said.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was a delightful side (throwing session the day after) because there's not much to work on,\" Waits added.
\r\n
\r\nIt is just the little things with Carvajal: getting better control over his fastball, staying low and away, getting used to starting, refining his breaking ball. He has been a Major League pitcher, the stuff is there—but that is something Bones warns Carvajal should not rest on.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got a little bit of experience, though I don't think that's going to give him a big edge,\" Bones said. \"And the reason he is working at this level is so he can make up some innings that he missed the previous years (not starting).\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It's a lot for a 22-year-old to take in. Just being moved around between six teams is a lot for a 22-year-old. But not more than I can handle,\" Carvajal said.
\r\n
\r\n\"If you play baseball you play for other organizations (as well as your own), everybody,\" Carvajal said. \"You're not playing just for that team—everybody's looking for a pitcher, a hitter, a whatever.\"
\r\n
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