Carlos Carrasco and Gavin Floyd could probably share a few notes. They had very similar problems in 2005. Both came into the season with a lot of promise and hope and both fell into what seemed to be a bottomless pit of failure. For Carrasco, the problems were very identifiable and the Phillies believe that they were able to get Carrasco's mechanics straightened out and that all should be well in 2006.
If that's the case, then Carlos Carrasco could be moved along pretty quickly. A year ago, it looked like the young right-hander would be on the fast track. Now, he's sort of pulling back onto the highway and will likely do so with a return to Lakewood.
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Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent in November, 2003.
Repertoire: Has a good curveball and change-up. His fastball lost velocity in 2005, falling from his usual low-90s range. When his motion is on, he gets good movement on his fastball and if his velocity returns, his fastball is very deceptive and should continue to get better and better. On occasion, Carrasco can get his fastball into the mid-90s and if he continues to develop and fill out, that could become routine for him. Some scouts would like to see him work harder at developing a stronger breaking pitch and would like for him to be willing to use it more often.
Pitching: Generally, Carrasco was known for a very smooth, flowing delivery. That all changed last season when he just simply got himself out of sorts and lost that smoothness. He also tends to let problems bother him and that just leads to a snowball effect on the mound. Simply developing and getting some maturity will take care of a lot of Carrasco's problems.
Projection: It's likely that Carrasco will start 2006 at the same place that he started 2005; Lakewood, New Jersey. After really struggling with the BlueClaws last season, he was demoted first to Batavia and then all the way back to the Gulf Coast League. This year, things should be different and he should be able to pitch well at Lakewood and possibly move along to Clearwater for an audition there late in the season. Carrasco's future seems destined to be as a starter and he should be able to fill at least a middle-of-the-rotation slot in the majors.
Comparison: In his first pro season, scouts saw a lot of Vicente Padilla's talent in Carrasco. In his second, they saw a lot of Padilla's meltdown ability in Carrasco. Keep in mind that Carrasco doesn't even turn 19 until late March. He has some maturing to do and those who know him believe that the meltdown part of his personality is already showing improvement and he should become much calmer as he matures. With that in mind, think of how good Padilla could have been if he wasn't inconsistent and moody.