Name: Cody Carroll
DOB: October 15, 1992
Repertoire. Fastball, Slider/Curveball, Changeup.
Fastball. Carroll boasts a true plus big league fastball, period! Able to average 93-96 mph and top out at 98 mph routinely, his fastball is a four-seam fastball but it shows a slight bit of downward movement to it so it has a heavy quality to it. Not known necessarily as a command pitcher, however, he is able to throw a bunch of strikes with his heater and as the season progressed in his first full season last year his command got noticeably better too, especially after he was shifted to the bullpen and started pitching shorter stints. That combination of ever-increasing command and heavy power allows him to keep the ball in the yard too. What is a little scary too is that he has some room to fill out a still somewhat slender frame so the velocity might actually have room to add a tick or two as he matures and gains professional experience, especially coming out of the bullpen.
Other Pitches. Carroll has a quality breaking ball in his arsenal. Some call it a slider and power-wise it is, averaging mostly 79-82 mph, but it acts more like a short power curveball with some late, short lateral movement to go with the diving downward action as well, and it serves as his best secondary strikeout weapon. He and the Yankees had experimented with making it harder and more of a true slider over the course of the season but they wound up going back to his normal one, the one he is most confident commanding. It's an above average pitch when it's going right. Carroll, a starting pitcher in college, actually has a solid changeup too even though it is one of the harder ones around. It'll sit 86-90 mph with some decent fade and depth so it isn't just a batting practice fastball and he can throw it for strikes too. Given the solid movement, there is some intriguing long term above average potential in the pitch if he could learn to slow it down just a tad more.
Pitching. Carroll prepared as a starter during his 2016 season, pitching every five days regardless if he actually began the game or not. However, despite having a starter's routine he does noticeably have two different pitching styles depending on the situation. When used later in games in sure-fire shorter inning stints he had more of a full-on attack mode style of pitching, going right after batters with a bit more power. In the games where he either started or when it was apparent he was scheduled to go more than a few innings he would dial back the aggression some and be a bit more cerebral in his approach. He also spent a good portion of his first full season last year working on his mechanics, trying to shorten a rather high leg-kick, and the end result was better command, brimming confidence, and a quicker tempo too by season's end. That less dramatic leg drive also allowed him to keep opposing runners at bay more and it put him in a better position post-pitch to field his area better. A tireless worker, he has an insatiable desire to keep working to improve his craft.
Projection. With three pitches that grade out as big league average [changeup] or better [fastball, breaking ball], good command that is still improving, and starter experience both in college and at the professional level, Carroll has everything in place to potentially project long-term as a middle of the rotation big league starting pitcher. Even though the high-end velocity might suggest some front-half of the rotation ceiling [and that ceiling does exist], the rather average changeup and command could slot him better somewhere in the middle. In fact, it is the hard changeup and less than elite command that has some scouts envisioning him sliding into the back-end of a big league bullpen down the road someday. Should that happen his 93-96 mph average velocity could very well bump up a tick or two as well. In a lot of ways he compares very favorably role flexibility-wise to current Yankees farmhand Jonathan Holder. Like Holder there's some very realistic starting potential to be realized but there's also a pitch package and improving command that could fly through the minor leagues as a setup man or closer type too. He gives the Yankees a ton of short-term and long-term pitching options.
ETA. 2019. The Yankees recently have a philosophy of keeping their better arms in the starting rotation at the minor league level and they probably want to give Carroll as much time as possible to work on his changeup, further improve the consistency of his breaking ball, and continue furthering his command. He should open up the 2017 season pitching much in the same role as he did a year ago, pitching every five days [whether starting games or not] for the Tampa Yankees. Should he have similar success, however, there's a good chance he sees some Double-A time too.