Carson Coming on Strong

Robert Carson, the Mets' 14th round pick in 2007, returned to the Gulf Coast League this year where he made significant improvements that caused his stock to climb higher. Still just 19 years old, Carson has a lot more development ahead, but the progression he showed this season bodes well for his future.

On a crowded pitching staff on the GCL Mets in 2007, left-hander Robert Carson saw very limited time as he appeared in just four games totaling nine innings. At the time, Carson was out to simply display his talents and work on fringe elements of his game as coaches and scouts examined what kind of pitcher he could be.

Fast forward towards the end of this season and what the organization finds is a much improved pitcher. His rapidly strengthening repertoire help him lay claim as one of the most talented left-handers on the farm.

Carson returned to Extended Spring Training to begin his season where worked on developing his slider and building a routine that could carry him through this season and beyond. The results came quickly as he subdued the opposition for a 1.50 ERA in 24 innings pitched, striking out 26 along the way.

With that success, the biggest difference Carson noticed year-over-year was an unexpected ability to put hitters away via strikeout.

"It's been a bit surprising how I've pitched this year coming from where I was last year," he said. "I really got to find out what kind of pitcher I am this year. I've been able to control more than one pitch and keep all my pitches in the strike zone."

"There was part of me that thought I was more of a finesse pitcher, someone that just gets a lot of groundballs and flyballs [his groundball/flyball ratio is nearly 4-to-1], but I surprised myself with the amount of strikeouts I got this year."

The notable differences have been the improvements in his slider and changeup. Though he entered the organization with a capable off-speed pitch, the effectiveness of both pitches this year has led to his success. Specifically, he fell back on his changeup when he struggled to locate his low to mid-90s fastball

"My changeup is coming along really well. It's been a lot better this season and it's become the pitch I rely on when my fastball isn't there at the start of games."

"I rely on my changeup to get my release point back to where it needs to so I can control my fastball better. I can get the pitch over strikes and it's definitely my most improved pitch this year," he explained.

As for Carson's slider, which was previously more of a get-over pitch, he has developed it to where it now sweeps away from left-hander batters and in, under the hands of right-handers, making for a very crucial third pitch.

"My slider didn't really come on until the end of last year, but it's really been there for me and is now a good third pitch for me and has been my put-out pitch a lot of times."

Following two blazing GCL performances in mid-July in which he combined for 16 strikeouts and two hits allowed over 12 shutout innings, Carson received his first promotion to Kingsport where he tossed more than half of his 2008 innings.

Though he recorded a 2-3 record in 30.2 innings pitched, he still held the opposition to just six earned runs while fanning another 21 batters. Kingsport may be just one notch above the GCL, but Carson found plenty of positives during his stay there.

"I learned a lot in Kingsport. I had a great time pitching here and I continue to do what I started in the Gulf Coast League. I haven't tried to change anything, I'm pitching the way I want to and I've learned a lot from the coaching staff. It was a blast to pitch at another level."

Now as Carson looks to the off-season, he already has one goal set in mind and that is to make a long-season club out of Spring Training. Yet, he looks back on the lessons learned in his second with the biggest of lesson of all being consistency.

"Consistency means a lot to me. I know I need to be consistent to have a good shot at moving up in this organization because I don't want to be a pitcher who doesn't know what's going to happen one start to the next. I want the coaches to feel good about what they'll get out of me every time I step on the mound."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nOn a crowded pitching staff on the GCL Mets in 2007, left-hander Robert Carson saw very limited time as he appeared in just four games totaling nine innings. At the time, Carson was out to simply display his talents and work on fringe elements of his game as coaches and scouts examined what kind of pitcher he could be.
\r\n
\r\nFast forward towards the end of this season and what the organization finds is a much improved pitcher. His rapidly strengthening repertoire help him lay claim as one of the most talented left-handers on the farm.
\r\n
\r\nCarson returned to Extended Spring Training to begin his season where worked on developing his slider and building a routine that could carry him through this season and beyond. The results came quickly as he subdued the opposition for a 1.50 ERA in 24 innings pitched, striking out 26 along the way.
\r\n
\r\nWith that success, the biggest difference Carson noticed year-over-year was an unexpected ability to put hitters away via strikeout.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's been a bit surprising how I've pitched this year coming from where I was last year,\" he said. \"I really got to find out what kind of pitcher I am this year. I've been able to control more than one pitch and keep all my pitches in the strike zone.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"There was part of me that thought I was more of a finesse pitcher, someone that just gets a lot of groundballs and flyballs [his groundball/flyball ratio is nearly 4-to-1], but I surprised myself with the amount of strikeouts I got this year.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe notable differences have been the improvements in his slider and changeup. Though he entered the organization with a capable off-speed pitch, the effectiveness of both pitches this year has led to his success. Specifically, he fell back on his changeup when he struggled to locate his low to mid-90s fastball
\r\n
\r\n\"My changeup is coming along really well. It's been a lot better this season and it's become the pitch I rely on when my fastball isn't there at the start of games.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I rely on my changeup to get my release point back to where it needs to so I can control my fastball better. I can get the pitch over strikes and it's definitely my most improved pitch this year,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\nAs for Carson's slider, which was previously more of a get-over pitch, he has developed it to where it now sweeps away from left-hander batters and in, under the hands of right-handers, making for a very crucial third pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"My slider didn't really come on until the end of last year, but it's really been there for me and is now a good third pitch for me and has been my put-out pitch a lot of times.\"
\r\n
\r\nFollowing two blazing GCL performances in mid-July in which he combined for 16 strikeouts and two hits allowed over 12 shutout innings, Carson received his first promotion to Kingsport where he tossed more than half of his 2008 innings.
\r\n
\r\nThough he recorded a 2-3 record in 30.2 innings pitched, he still held the opposition to just six earned runs while fanning another 21 batters. Kingsport may be just one notch above the GCL, but Carson found plenty of positives during his stay there.
\r\n
\r\n\"I learned a lot in Kingsport. I had a great time pitching here and I continue to do what I started in the Gulf Coast League. I haven't tried to change anything, I'm pitching the way I want to and I've learned a lot from the coaching staff. It was a blast to pitch at another level.\"
\r\n
\r\nNow as Carson looks to the off-season, he already has one goal set in mind and that is to make a long-season club out of Spring Training. Yet, he looks back on the lessons learned in his second with the biggest of lesson of all being consistency.
\r\n
\r\n\"Consistency means a lot to me. I know I need to be consistent to have a good shot at moving up in this organization because I don't want to be a pitcher who doesn't know what's going to happen one start to the next. I want the coaches to feel good about what they'll get out of me every time I step on the mound.\"
\r\n
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