Prospect Lookback: Chris Carpenter

Cardinals righthander Chris Carpenter said Wednesday that he is retiring. Of the 2005 National League Cy Young Award winner, general manager John Mozeliak said, “He’ll go down as one of the greatest we’ve ever had.”

Carpenter, 38, did not pitch in 2013 because of a nerve issue in his neck and has pitched in just three games since the end of the 2011 season because of injuries. He ends a 15-year career with the Blue Jays and Cardinals at 144-94, 3.76 with a career 2.7 SO/BB ratio, which ranks inside the top 100 all time.

A first-round pick by Toronto out of Trinity High in Manchester, N.H., Carpenter ranked as the Jays’ No. 3 prospect entering the 1997 season and ranked No. 28 on the Top 100 Prospects list.

Here’s what Baseball America wrote about him at that time:


Age: 21. Bats: R. Throws: R. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 225. Drafted by: Toronto. HS—Trinity, Manchester, N.H.

Background: Like so many Blue Jays prospects, Carpenter was a two-sport star in high school. He played hockey as well as baseball. He had back and arm problems in his first two pro seasons, but has proven durable the last two. He finished sixth in the Southern League in strikeouts in 1996.

Strengths: Carpenter has athleticism and will do the little things to help himself. Most of all, he has stuff. He has developed a fastball that sits in the 92-93 mph range.

Weaknesses: Carpenter has a power curve that is a knee-buckler, but it has some extra play in it at times and needs to become more consistent. He still gets a little too excited, but has done a better job of harnessing his emotions. Getting to pitch regularly the last two years has been a big lift for him.

The Future: Carpenter is ready for the move to Triple-A in 1997, with a chance to force his way to the big leagues.

1996 Club (Class) W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H BB SO
Knoxville (Double-A) 7 9 3.94 28 28 1 0 171 161 91 150