Phillies Prospect #1: Carlos Carrasco

For the second straight season, Carlos Carrasco is the top ranked prospect in the Phillies organization. The 22 year old starts the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, just one step away from the majors.

Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent in 2003.
Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 6' 3"  Weight: 178 pounds
Birth Date: March 21, 1987
2008 Team(s): Reading (20 G), Lehigh Valley (6)
Games/Games Started: 26 G / 25 GS
2008 Ranking: 1

Why Carrasco maintained his #1 ranking: Carlos Carrasco maintained his stranglehold on the top ranking thanks to what he did late in the year at Lehigh Valley. Without his performance with the IronPigs, his season numbers would have been very average. The smart money is on the fact that Carrasco was basically bored and unchallenged at Double-A Reading and the move to Triple-A rejuvenated him. That loss of focus has been something that Carrasco has battled throughout his career, but Lehigh Valley manager Dave Huppert believes that's in the past for Carrasco, who starts this season at Triple-A. "His mound presence was great [in spring training]. He's learning and trying to execute what we're trying to do. He's maturing and getting to where he knows what he wants to do with hitters," explained Huppert.

Repertoire: If he absolutely had to, Carrasco could probably get by just by mixing his fastball and change-up. The two pitches are tough to discern from one another and when he's on, it's almost impossible for hitters to get good, solid wood on his pitches, most of which are heavy, low in the zone strikes. Mixing in with his top two pitches, Carrasco has a good, but not overwhelming curve and he generally gets good movement on the curve, which is a hard, breaking type of pitch. When he gets himself off of his game, Carrasco can start to get pitches up in the zone and his curve can quickly flatten out to become a hanging bullseye for hitters. With his growing confidence and maturity, Carrasco limits those off moments.

Pitching Style: Consistency and maturity are going to go a long way for Carrasco. He's gotten his mechanics to a smooth spot, and he's been consistent in maintaining the good habits that the Phillies have taught him. The maturity factor has been the tougher of the two for Carrasco to overcome, but this spring, Carrasco looked much more confident and in control on the mound. Lou Marson, who has caught Carrasco at a couple of different levels thinks that as good as he's been in the past, Carrasco will be even better now. "He's had that big league invite now and the more you do that, the more comfortable you get," said Marson. "He just looked a lot more comfortable on the mound this spring."

Projection: Carrasco has the potential to work his way through the rotation and wind up as at least a number two starter in the majors. Now that his maturity seems to have kicked in, he's going to be a dominating pitcher at the Triple-A level. 

ETA: The Phillies were right in sending Carrasco to Lehigh Valley. He could use at least a half-season with the IronPigs to get himself truly set to pitch in the majors. If the Phillies really needed him to pitch in the majors, he would be ready, but would likely wind up running into some obstacles along the way. With J.A. Happ in the major league bullpen and Kyle Kendrick also waiting at Triple-A, the Phillies won't need to rush Carrasco to the majors. Once he reaches the majors, it's likely that he's going to be able to stick from day one and start to establish himself as one of the top, young pitchers in the game.

Carlos Carrasco's career stats

YEAR / TEAM W L ERA G GS CG IP H R ER HR BB KO WHIP OPP AVG
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
2007 Reading 6 4 4.86 14 13 1 70.1 65 42 38 9 46 49 1.58 .247
2008 Reading 7 7 4.32 20 19 1 114.2 109 58 55 13 45 109 1.34 .254
2008 Lehigh Valley 2 2 1.72 6 6 0 36.2 37 15 7 1 13 46 1.36 .250
TOTALS 39 35 3.93 108 103 6 581.2 526 286 254 58 240 510 1.32 .240



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