Top Prospect #21: Carlos Carrasco

A team never knows what's going to come out of a tryout camp. When the Phillies held a tryout camp in Venezuela just about a year ago, they found young Carlos Carrasco. Now, Carrasco could well find himself on a fast track to the City of Brotherly Love.

Carlos Carrasco wasn't one of those much heralded signings, at least by some standards. His signing didn't bring with it the attention that the Phillies foray - failed though it was - into the Korean Leagues did a few years ago when they signed two more sought after young pitchers in Il Kim and Seung Lee. Carrasco also didn't warrant the big money that those pitchers commanded.

The Phillies held a tryout camp in Venezuela, a country that has been good to the organization, and Carrasco was one of the participants. They immediately liked what they saw and threw about $300,000 at Carrasco to make him a part of their organization. While he's just 18 years old, Carrasco has the polish of a slightly older young pitcher. Considering that his credentials made it through the heightened post-911 security scrutiny, we must assume that Carrasco truly is as young as his birth certificate says. That, combined with how Carrasco throws, makes him a definite rising star in the organization.

2004 Gulf Coast 5 4 3.56 0 11 8 0 48.0 53 23 19 15 34 2
Career 5 4 3.56 0 11 8 0 48.0 53 23 19 15 34 2

Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent after a tryout camp in Venezuela.

Repertoire: Has a fastball that is in the low 90s and he occasionally ramps up to the mid 90 mph range. His curveball and change-up are strong, but his breaking ball needs some work and he doesn't throw it too often.

Pitching: Carrasco improved slightly on his velocity during extended spring training last year. He generally has good movement on his fastball. His curveball does show improvement and as he gets more confidence, he'll likely be throwing it more and in better situations. One drawback is that Carrasco can get rattled on the mound and get himself into trouble. You can chalk most of that up to the fact that he's just 18 and has some maturing to do.

Projection: Among the interesting assignment decisions this spring will be Carlos Carrasco. Odds are that because of his age and the fact that there are a good number of pitching prospects in the organization, he may have to go through extended spring training again and pitch at Batavia later in the summer. It's not out of the question that the Phillies will consider sending Carrasco to Lakewood later in the season or possibly to start the year if all looks completely perfect. Carrasco can be at least a middle of the rotation pitcher in the majors and could easily be even more when all is said and done. He pitched three games in relief, although his future is likely as a starter.

ETA: It's not out of the question that by late 2008 or certainly by 2009, Carrasco will be looking to hit the major leagues. As he matures and develops, his fastball will gain even more velocity and his concentration on the mound should improve. When that happens, his walk/strikeout ratio will get better and Carrasco will become a top-notch prospect.

Comparison: There are obvious comparisons to Vicente Padilla, especially because of the mound tantrums that can occur. The two pitchers also have very similar types of pitches and deliveries. Some believe though that Carrasco is well ahead of Padilla at the same point in their careers and that Carrasco will be an even better pitcher long-term. That's a pretty lofty goal to set for an 18 year old, but it's not out of the question.

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