Phillies Prospect #13: Andrew Carpenter

For a while, it looked like Phillies prospect Andrew Carpenter went AWOL last season. Slowly though, the right-hander fought his way back and seems to have things going well again for himself.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 2006 Draft.
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 6' 3"   Weight: 225 pounds
Birth Date: May 18, 1985
2008 Team(s): Reading (16 G), Clearwater (8 G), Lehigh Valley (1 G), Philadelphia (1 G)
Games/Games Started: 26 G / 25 GS
School: Long Beach State
2008 Ranking: #4

Why Carpenter fell from #4: The 2008 season was not kind to Andrew Carpenter. He started the season at Double-A Reading, but by the end of May, his ERA had blossomed to a 6.94 and he wound up on the DL, officially for a toe problem, but unofficially, to get himself straightened out and reconditioned. He returned to the mound at High-A Clearwater in mid-June and seemed to have gotten things figured out, pitching well for the Threshers and being promoted back to Reading by late July, where he also pitched well. In late August, he made a relief appearance with the Phillies and was then optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he made a successful start late in the season for the IronPigs. Figuring that he was straightened out, the Phillies then sent Carpenter to the Arizona Fall League, where he again struggled and headed into the off-season on a down note. He reported to camp in good shape this spring, but struggled with the big league club, but again has turned things around since being sent to the minor league camp, where he has thrown 8 2/3 strong innings, allowing just one earned run.

Andrew Carpenter: Reading, 2008
  April/May July/August
W-L 2-7 4-1
ERA 6.94 4.88
IP 59.2 34.0
H/9 IP 12.52 8.21
HR/9 IP 1.06 1.59
BB/9 IP 3.47 1.85
KO/9 IP 6.18 7.41
WHIP 1.78 1.12
OPP AVG .329 .254
IP/GS 5.42 6.80
HB/9 IP 0.45 0.79
WP/9 IP 0.45 0.79
DP/9 IP 0.76 1.59

Repertoire: Carpenter has four pitches to draw from and can throw them all for strikes. His split-finger fastball is his outpitch and he keeps it down in the zone with good movement. His curve and four-seem fastball are average, but have been getting better and are the pitches that make the difference between him being a very hittable pitcher and a pitcher who can keep hitters guessing because of the different looks that he can give them. Then, there's the change-up, which doesn't always have enough disguise to it to make it truly effective. Good hitters can tell when the change-up is coming and are able to sit on the pitch enough to do damage. If Carpenter can patch up his delivery to not tip off the change, he'll become a much more effective pitcher.

Pitching Style: Even when he was struggling, Carpenter wasn't the type of pitcher to let it show on the mound. For whatever reason, he simply lost his mechanics and spiraled out of whack, but maintained his approach and tried to stay in command on the mound, even though he was sinking at times. He relies on throwing strikes and moving his pitches around in the strike zone and if he loses his command, he can get himself into trouble by trying to be too perfect. He also knows how to contain baserunners by varying his moves and giving a quick delivery to the plate with a good move to first as well.

Projection: The real Andrew Carpenter is the one who fans saw early last season and in his last two minor league spring starts. We don't know who that other guy was that showed up for a couple of months last season, but he appears to have left town and the real Andrew Carpenter is ready to show what he can do. Carpenter has the ability to pitch in the middle of the rotation at the majors and to possibly be even more than that.

ETA: If all of the situations play out, Carpenter would be ready for a September audition with the big league club, if they can find spots to use him during a pennant race (note the optimism). He may be battling for a spot next spring or could conceivably become a somewhat expendable trading chip for the Phillies to use since they have decent depth in the starting pitching department. Could Carpenter work out of the bullpen? It's possible and at one time, it was thought that he might be a closer-in-waiting type of pitcher, but with the development of his pitches, he's best suited to pitch as a starter.

Andrew Carpenter's career stats

2006 GCL 0 0 0.00 2 1 3.0 2 0 0 0 0 4 0.67 .200
2006 Batavia 0 0 0.77 3 3 11.2 10 1 1 0 5 12 1.25 .250
2007 Clearwater 17 6 3.20 27 24 163.0 150 65 58 16 53 116 1.25 .242
2008 Reading 6 8 5.67 16 16 93.2 114 68 59 13 30 69 1.54 .305
2008 Clearwater 3 3 2.92 8 8 52.1 44 17 17 2 9 32 1.01 .228
2008 Lehigh Valley 0 1 2.57 1 1 7.0 6 2 2 1 3 5 1.29 .240
2008 Philadelphia 0 0 0.00 1 0 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 1 2.00 .333
MINOR LEAGUE TOTALS 26 18 3.73 57 53 330.2 326 153 137 32 100 238 1.29 .259

Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories