Name: Austin DeCarr
DOB: March 14, 1995
Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
Fastball. DeCarr was immediately considered one of the higher ceiling pitchers upon his third round selection nearly three years ago and one of the major reasons was his ability to comfortably sit 92-94 mph with his fastball and show a lot of late-life explosion [and movement]. Reportedly topping out at 97 mph as an amateur with a lot of natural tailing action, he even had advanced control of his fastball too at a very young age and the kind of physical frame that could support significant addition weight and power, and all of it spelled long-term plus fastball. One Tommy John surgery later, however, and the fastball [at least for the time being] has not only not advanced like it could but it has regressed some, if just temporarily. He was sitting more in the 88-92 mph range in his first year back from the injury last season and the control was erratic. Both the velocity and command have great long-term ceilings but there is work to be done towards developing his current average fastball into the plus offering many scouts believed he was capable of having just two years ago.
Other Pitches. What also had team officials and scouts alike excited about DeCarr's long-term future was the advanced power curveball he had to go along with his then highly effective fastball. Sitting in the mid-70s to low-80s with a true knee-buckling, plus hammer curveball pre-surgery, like his fastball he was able to throw it for a ton of strikes when he entered the professional ranks and just like his fastball now the curveball has become an inconsistent offering for him after his initial return from the injury. Some days it flashes the plus potential it once had and other times it looks average at best, which isn't too concerning considering the breaking ball is usually the last pitch to be re-introduced into a rehabbing pitcher's repertoire. Both DeCarr and team officials have no long-term concerns about its eventual return to top form. About the only advancement to DeCarr's game over the past 18 months since his Tommy John surgery has been the development of his changeup. Once a non-existent pitch, DeCarr has developed a solid one now, one that shows above average or better long-term potential given the current fade, depth, and arm speed shown. Par for the rehab course, however, his command of it has been spotty thus far.
Pitching. DeCarr's rehab season last year in his first year back from Tommy John surgery essentially needs to be thrown out the window in terms of pitching analysis as it was all about regaining his feel for pitching again and getting some innings under his belt. He simply wasn't himself on the mound stuff-wise or control-wise. When healthy he boasts the kind of special one-two punch fastball-curveball-wise that are signature calling cards of a top pitching prospect and he combines that with a Matt Harvey-like mental aura, one which is ultra-competitive and always looking to improve. And much like Harvey his normal pitching style is very aggressive, one that goes right after batters and doesn't shy away from contact. DeCarr though wasn't any of those things in 2016 as he was simply a young man trying to rediscover himself on the mound again. He's both physically strong and mentally strong, and the further he gets away from his 2015 surgery the more those traits are going to shine.
Projection. A scouting report is really only a snapshot in time as to where a current player's abilities are and in the case of DeCarr he is at a bit of a crossroads it seems. He has pitched just a little more than 60 innings three years into his career, mostly due to missing more than a calendar year with the Tommy John surgery, but he's also about to be 22-years old this coming season as well and hasn't advanced too far along just yet either. So while the inexperience is duly noted, especially given the time missed due to injury, the fact is he isn't young for his levels anymore either and the current stuff and command project him more as a middle to back-end big league starting pitcher, and even that projection requires some considerable work. Both the changeup and curveball need to be more consistent, and the average velocity probably needs a tick or two improvement too. However, given his off-the-charts intangibles, few scouts believe his current game will also be his long-term game. A bit more is expected velocity-wise across the board and the command should return at least to big league average after he logs more innings. Combining that with the improvements that should come to his secondary pitches, there is a considerable front-half big league starting rotation type ceiling that exists as well but for now baby steps are needed first. He needs to stay healthy, log a ton of innings, and continue working on his game.
ETA. N/A. Experience-wise DeCarr would probably be better served going back to the short-season leagues to gain some more experience but his advancing age is a bit of a ticking time bomb for the Yankees roster-wise, especially given the long-term, high-ceiling potential he possesses. He needs to move quicker than the Yankees would probably like at this point so he seems like a smart bet to log significant time in the long-season leagues with low-A Charleston in 2017. He has the kind of game though that could advance quickly if/when he regains his pre-surgery form.