Phillies Prospect #1: Carlos Carrasco

Last season, there was a debate about whether or not Carlos Carrasco was the best prospect in the organization. This season, Carrasco's development has left no doubt that he's the best the Phillies have to offer.

Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent in 2003.

B: R  T: R  / Height: 6' 3"  Weight: 178 lbs.

Birth Date: March 21, 1987

2007 Team: Reading (14 g), Clearwater (12 g)

Games/Games Started in 2007: 26 g / 25 gs

Last Year's Ranking: 2

Why he moved to #1: Carlos Carrasco pitched very well early in the season at Clearwater and the Phillies decided to pick up the pace a little and move him to Double-A Reading. His numbers at Reading weren't great, but he was at least respectable even though he moved up a little quicker than it was originally figured that he would. When he was at Clearwater, Carrasco was dominating and it's likely that he'll return to that form by starting this season back at Reading.

Repertoire: Last season, Carrasco had his velocity consistently in the low-90s and had heavy downward movement on the pitch with the movement coming late and making some hitters look downright foolish. Carrasco has made the most progress with his change-up and it's now one of the best in the organization, especially when combined with his good, hard fastball. His curve is still developing, but the fact that it's getting better and better is good news. "Stuff" wise, Carrasco has good enough pitches for Carrasco to succeed at Double-A, especially when he gets comfortable.

Pitching Style: The Phillies have spent a lot of time working with Carrasco to get his mechanics consistent and keep them there. Over the past couple of seasons, Carrasco has made huge strides in consistency, but he admits that it's something he still needs to work on. "I have to keep doing things the right way," said Carrasco through interpreter Frank Cacciatore. "They keep showing me what to do and what not to do and now I'm a better pitcher because of that." Carrasco is also gaining the advantage of maturity. The younger version of Carlos Carrasco could become unraveled pretty quickly, but now, he's worked through the mental part of the game and is getting better at not putting himself in more trouble because of his emotions. The final part of consistency for Carrasco is to keep himself composed with runners on base. He sometimes hurries his pitches and loses command when he does.

Projection: It figures that eventually, Carrasco will occupy a spot near the top of the Phillies rotation. He's got the kind of arm that top pitchers need and he's developed enough velocity and movement on his pitches to get hitters at higher levels out. Just how quickly will Carrasco fit in at the Double-A level and how quickly will the Phillies promote him? Now that he's gained some consistency and has his emotions under control, the Phillies don't feel the need to be as cautious with him as they were in the past or as cautious as they are with other pitchers in the organization. The Phillies said this spring that Carrasco would likely be ready to audition for the big league rotation for 2009 and if that's the case, it's likely they'll move him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the season ends. In a perfect world, Carrasco will set the world on fire and be ready for a late season audition in Philly, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

ETA: Is he ready now or isn't he? Early this spring, Carrasco said he thought he deserved a spot in the Phillies rotation, but then he promptly went out and got hammered. He also had a stiff elbow late in the spring, which set him back. The Phillies were absolutely right when they said that he wasn't ready for the majors right now and their 2009 timetable is very possible if all goes well this season.

Carlos Carrasco's career stats

2004 GCL 5 4 3.56 11 8 0 48.0 53 23 19 2 15 34 1.42 .276
2005 Lakewood 1 7 7.04 13 13 1 62.2 78 50 49 11 28 46 1.69 .302
2005 Batavia 0 3 13.50 4 4 0 15.1 29 25 23 8 5 12 2.22 .392
2005 GCL 0 0 1.80 2 2 0 5.0 3 1 1 0 1 2 0.80 .176
2006 Lakewood 12 6 2.26 26 26 2 159.1 103 50 40 6 65 159 1.05 .182
2007 Clearwater 6 4 2.84 12 12 1 69.2 49 22 22 8 22 53 1.02 .199
2008 Reading 6 4 4.86 14 13 1 70.1 65 42 38 9 46 49 1.62 .247
TOTALS 30 28 4.02 82 81 5 430.1 380 213 192 44 182 355 1.31 .235

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