"I'll take whatever they give me. I don't know if they need me as a batboy or what." Probably not words that his agent would want to hear, but that's how Clary Carlsen approached starting his professional career. "They gave me a thousand dollars and a plane ticket." That's how Carlsen wound up his negotiations with the Phillies this past summer.
Granted, as a 33rd round pick with no college eligibility left, Carlsen wasn't in the best of negotiating spots anyway, but his approach is simple. He just wants to pitch. It has always been that way with Carlsen, who worked as both a reliever and a starter at the University of Hawaii. "I've started for so long, I really liked it. Then I started relieving and I liked that, too ... coming in in pressure situations. I really like being out there. It's tough being on the bench. I'd like to throw as many innings as I can. It's nice to have an influence on the outcome of a game," said Carlsen.
The Phillies haven't decided on what Carlsen's final role will be. In his first pro season, the Phillies had him in the bullpen, but that could change down the road. Carlsen's mentality and bulldog attitude may suit him for a role as a reliever and the Phillies are pursuing that avenue with an eye on eventually seeing how Carlsen might work as a closer. His first pro season was strong, even though he struggled when he got a big promotion to jump all the way to Clearwater late in the year.
|Year / Team||W||L||ERA||SV||G||GS||CG||IP||H||R||ER||BB||KO||HR|
|2004 Gulf Coast||3||0||2.86||1||15||0||0||22.0||18||7||7||4||24||1|
Acquired: The Phillies drafted Carlsen in the 33rd round of the 2004 Draft.
Repertoire: Carlsen is your basic sinker, slider pitcher. He has a fastball with good movement and has been able to push his velocity around the 90 mph mark.
Pitching: The Phillies saw three things that they loved with Carlsen. He has great command of all his pitches. He keeps the ball down in the strike zone and he isn't afraid to challenge hitters. His fastball has been described as "sneaky fast" by one scout, who believes Carlsen may be able to add another mile or two per hour to his velocity.
Projection: Carlsen pitched well in the Gulf Coast League and was rewarded with a surprise promotion to Clearwater late in the year. Things went rough there, but it was a good experience for the young right-hander. It's most likely that the Phillies will start Carlsen at Lakewood in 2005, but with an impressive spring, he could find himself in Clearwater either to start the year or soon after.
ETA: It figures that Carlsen, who already has strong mechanics and a knowledge of how to pitch, will move quickly. You could see Carlsen fighting for a major league spot as early as 2008, but it will likely be a year or two after that until Carlsen is getting serious consideration for a spot with the big league club.
Comparison: Carlsen compares favorably to current Phillie Tim Worrell. He's a guy who doesn't have overpowering stuff, but he throws strikes and has enough on his pitches to get guys out.