Looking to solidify his spot as a Phillies prospect, Carlos Carrasco put up impressive numbers at Lakewood last season as part of the South Atlantic League Champion Lakewood BlueClaws. His performance was huge for the 'Claws and it was huge for Carrasco as well. After a forgettable 2005 season, Carrasco rebounded and showed that the previous season was just a minor obstacle and a matter of continuing his adjustment to professional baseball. After all, Carrasco is still a few days shy of his 20th birthday and had only spent time in the Gulf Coast League in 2004 as his introduction to professional baseball when the Phillies attempted to jump him up to Lakewood the following season. The move went badly, but Carrasco didn't let it get him down and instead, worked hard to make the adjustments necessary and they all showed last summer.
This summer, Carrasco will make another jump as he continues up the ladder in the Phillies minor league system. The right-hander is ticketed for Clearwater and figures to be a part of the Phillies long-term plans when they consider their starting rotation of the future.
Carlos Carrasco's career stats
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Acquired: Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in November of 2003.
Repertoire: Carrasco added some velocity last season, which was a welcome sight after his step back in 2005. His fastball is generally around 93 miles per hour and he gets good, late movement on it. His curveball and change-up are good, but not stellar, so it's important for him to use all three pitches and mix and match to get hitters out. It worked for him last season as SAL hitters managed to hit just .182 against him and he struck out a hitter-per-inning.
Pitching: It's all about maintaining consistent mechanics for Carrasco. In 2005, his mechanics were all over the place and he was trying to make every pitch hard and right on the black edge of the plate. The Phillies worked to get him to where he concentrates more on pitching and less on just throwing hard, which has helped him to keep a consistent motion. Last season, Carrasco more than doubled the innings he had pitched in the previous two seasons, but gave up 15 less home runs (21combined home runs in 2004 and 2005 and just 6 last season). Getting to work over the long haul of a full season was important for Carrasco, who never really seemed to hit a wall last season and in fact, posted his best monthly ERA of the season (1.82) in August.
Projection: This season, Carrasco advances to Clearwater and if things go well there, he could in fact be with the Double-A Reading Phillies by the end of the season. Last year, the Phillies were looking just to have Carrasco pitch in a full-season league and throw a good number of innings and they didn't really even consider him for promotion to the Threshers even though he was pitching so well. They won't need to be as cautious with him this season. Down the road, Carrasco could fill a pretty high spot in the starting rotation. The Phillies want him to continue to fill out a little, but not to the point where he loses any fluidity in his motion. Pitching in the Futures Game last summer during the all-star break was a big moment for Carrasco, but there are likely to be more milestones in the not too distant future.
ERA: At just 20 years of age, there is no reason to rush Carrasco. That doesn't mean that the Phillies will let him get too comfortable at any level if he's deserving of a promotion. He could be getting some late season consideration in 2008 and may look to fight his way into the rotation the following spring, but all will have to go very well for Carrasco to make those goals come true. The bottom line though is that an accelerated time table won't be out of the question for Carlos Carrasco.