- Full name Carlos Luis Carrasco
- Born 03/21/1987 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 224 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Liceo Federico Carmona
- Debut 09/01/2009
Organization Prospect Rankings
The No. 1 prospect on our Phillies Top 10 before the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Carrasco struggled in Triple-A at the outset of last year. He got back on track after coming to the Indians in the Cliff Lee trade, but got crushed in five big league starts in September. Carrasco throws a 91-94 mph fastball that touches 96. He also throws his plus changeup with good arm speed and late action, and that could be one reason he has been more effective against lefthanders than righthanders over the last two seasons. He has a big frame, solid mechanics and arm action. Durable throughout his career, he has made at least 25 starts in each of the last four seasons. Carrasco has also been maddeningly inconsistent. His curveball comes and goes and is often a fringe-average pitch. He'll mix in a fringy slider with shorter, harder break. He throws strikes but has lapses with repeating his delivery and his command, often making mistakes up and over the middle of the plate. He has been hit hard with runners on base. Some believe it's a matter of wavering focus, while others say it's a mechanical issue when he pitches from the stretch, as he tends to sink on his backside, lower his release point and not stay as tall in his delivery. That causes him to throw from a lower slot and leaves his stuff a little bit flat, but it should be correctable. If Carrasco can refine his command and straighten out his inconsistencies, he has the stuff to be a mid-rotation starter. He'll compete for a spot in the major league rotation this spring.
Ever since signing for $300,000 in 2003, Carrasco has ranked among the Phillies' Top 10 Prospects, and he topped this list the previous two years. He repeated Double-A Reading in 2008 and showed better command to earn a late-season promotion to Triple- A Lehigh Valley, where he finished strong. Scouts rave about Carrasco's pure stuff. He'll touch 96 mph with his fastball and sits at 91-94 with late life. His changeup has similar depth and fade, and when he locates it and his fastball, he can cruise through a lineup. His curveball, once a liability, now grades out as average consistently and sometimes gives him a third plus pitch. For all his stuff, he lacks consistency and a killer instinct. Opposing managers and scouts use words such as "fold up" or "soft" to describe Carrasco, who's prone to the big inning. He tends to quicken his delivery, causing his fastball to elevate, and falls in love with his changeup. Inconsistent command and wavering focus land him in tight spots and make it hard for him to work out of trouble. Unsure if he could handle pennant-race pressure, Philadelphia didn't call Carrasco up for September. At the same time, they still consider him a co-No. 1 prospect with Dominic Brown, with a ceiling of a No. 2 starter. He should challenge J.A. Happ and Kyle Kendrick for the last big league rotation spot in spring training. More likely, he'll head back to Triple-A for more seasoning.
Phillies international supervisor Sal Agostinelli signed Carrasco for $300,000 out of Venezuela in 2003, and the young righthander made a successful debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League a year later as a 17-year-old. Philadelphia admittedly rushed him in 2005, pushing Carrasco to low Class A Lakewood, where he was hit hard. But after honing both his mechanics and his mental approach during instructional league, Carrasco turned the corner in a return trip to Lakewood in 2006 and blossomed into the best starter in the system. He also added the Futures Game and the organization's minor league pitcher of the year award to his résumé. After going through a dead-arm period last April when his velocity was down and his secondary pitches lacked their normal bite, Carrasco hit a groove in 2007 and was promoted to Double-A Reading in June. He was inconsistent as a 20-year-old in the Eastern League, however, mixing brilliance (a six-inning no-hitter against Altoona in August) with inconsistency (he allowed five or more runs in five of his 13 starts with Reading). He struggled to get ground balls and command the strike zone. Carrasco has the makings of two plus pitches with the potential for a third. His fastball has outstanding late life, and is at its best when he works between 89-93 mph. When he needs it, he can touch 94-95. He complements the fastball with the best changeup in the system, and he commands it to both sides of the plate with good depth and fade. His curveball continued to make strides in 2007, ranging from a soft 71-72 mph breaker to a harder 76-78 mph offering that more resembles a slider. His body allows him to unleash all his pitches from a steep downhill plane, and when he's on, he pounds the strike zone. As good as Carrasco's pure stuff is, he struggled with runners on base in 2007. When he'd get into trouble, he'd rush through his delivery with his lower half and drag his arm behind his body. That would cause his front shoulder to fly open, costing him command. The Phillies attribute these problems to Carrasco's youth, though he did show signs of improvement later in the year. He'll need to make quicker adjustments as he moves along, especially with pitch selection. With the quality of his secondary pitches, Carrasco should profile as a groundball pitcher with enough power in his fastball to miss bats when he has to. Yet in Double-A, his groundout/airout ratio was a mere 0.7. After a half-season of learning in the Eastern League, Carrasco likely will return there to begin 2008. Some Phillies officials believe that Carrasco was rushed again in 2007, but they were also impressed with how he responded in instructional league afterward. He could debut in the majors in 2009.
Signed for $300,000 out of Venezuela in 2003, Carrasco had a successful debut the following year in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. The Phillies take full blame for rushing him in 2005, pushing him to low Class A Lakewood at age 18 in a move that backfired when he posted a 7.04 ERA. He turned a corner in instructional league after the season, setting the stage for a return to Lakewood in 2006, when he blossomed into a legitimate frontline starter prospect. He ranked third in the system in wins and ERA and represented the organization in the Futures Game. He was a major part of Lakewood's South Atlantic League title run, though the Phillies were disappointed with the way Carrasco handled himself when he struggled. Since making strides in grasping English this season, Carrasco has taken to instruction more easily. Carrasco has two plus pitches in his arsenal, starting with a consistent 90-92 mph fastball. His fastball has outstanding late life and finish, and he commands it to all four quadrants of the strike zone. He can dial it up to 93-94 when he needs to, and he could add more velocity as he matures physically. He complements his heater with one of the best changeups in the system. His changeup features excellent late fade and depth, and he'll throw it in any count. The biggest improvement Carrasco made in 2006 was with his curveball. He commanded his 71-77 mph curve better than he ever had, showing good tilt and late bite. He repeats his delivery and fields his position well. Though he didn't have an at-bat with the BlueClaws, Philadelphia raves about the pride Carrasco takes in the offensive side of the game. He's a good bunter and shows aptitude in understanding game situations from a hitter's perspective. Carrasco has a simple, compact delivery, but he can rush it at times, leading to erratic command. He arguably commands his changeup better than any of his pitches, but slows down his arm action slightly when he throws it, tipping off hitters. While his curveball is his third-best pitch, he falls in love with it at times. He needs to improve its consistency and also throw it for strikes more often, because better hitters will be less likely to chase it off the plate. Carrasco needs to have a better overall rhythm on the mound. He'll speed up when things are going his way, and slow down to a snail's pace when he's scuffling. The Phillies already tried to jump Carrasco once, and they won't make the same mistake again. Though he's shown much more maturity, there's really no reason to rush him. While other arms from Lakewood's championship staff might leap past him, Carrasco will start 2007 in high Class A Clearwater and won't see Double-A Reading before mid-season, putting him on pace to arrive in Philadelphia at some point in 2009.
Carrasco signed for $300,000 out of a Venezuelan tryout camp and a strong U.S. debut rocketed him to No. 8 on this list a year ago. It also encouraged Philadelphia enough that it sent him to full-season ball before he was ready. Older hitters punished Carrasco's mistakes, which crushed his confidence and eventually got him sent down to Batavia. The Phillies rarely rush callow prospects up the ladder, so they claim fault here, but were also disappointed with how he handled the situation. His good stuff remained intact despite the struggles, though he fell into the trap of thinking throwing harder was better every time he found trouble. A year older than Edgar Garcia, Carrasco owns a similar repertoire. His fastball, which sits in the low 90s, and changeup are his best offerings, and both are plus pitches. Carrasco's curveball should end up at least average, but it still lacks consistency. He's a good athlete who effectively repeats a smooth delivery. Carrasco will receive a second chance in low Class A this year, and he still owns a ceiling as a No. 2 or 3 starter.
Carrasco signed for $300,000 out of a Venezuelan tryout camp and did nothing but improve during his first year with the organization. He added 20 pounds and really turned a corner from extended spring training through instructional league. Carrasco works at 92-93 mph now and should add velocity over the next few years. He throws his fastball on a downhill plane with average life. He showed consistent improvement with his curveball, which should develop into a plus power pitch. His smooth delivery and good changeup are reminiscent of a much older pitcher. He's an excellent athlete, which enables him to repeat his delivery. Carrasco needs to relax on the mound. Early in the season when things didn't go well, he tended to get amped up rather than thinking about what adjustments he needed to make to throw quality strikes. His breaking ball needs more consistency and depth. Carrasco should be ready for a full-season league, but an organizational logjam of starting pitchers probably will keep him at short-season Batavia. Considering his age, there's no rush.
After strong seasons in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League, Cabrera took another step up the ladder to the short-season New York-Penn League in 2002. Each year Cabrera has added strength and weight, going from 174 pounds after signing to 183 in 2001 and 195 last year. As he fills out his 6-foot-4 frame, Cabrera reminds the Phillies more and more of Carlos Silva. Like Silva, Cabrera has a strong arm and can be a durable starter. His fastball sits between 90-92 mph, can get up to 94 and bores in on hitters. His curveball is progressing nicely and should become an average to plus pitch, though now it still varies from crisp to flat. Cabrera just learned to throw a changeup but has picked it up quickly, giving him another solid offering. He struggled with his release point last season, which affects his command. The rest of his delivery is clean, so he shouldn't need a major adjustment. He'll continue to refine his secondary stuff while continuing his transition from thrower to pitcher in the Lakewood rotation in 2003. Cabrera is advanced for his age, which should expedite his rise through the system.
Minor League Top Prospects
Carrasco presents a puzzle, because he has the struff to be a frontline starter. He rarely has dominated the minors in that manner, however, and has endured repeated questions about his focus and toughness. He may have turned a corner in September, when he recorded six straight quality starts for Cleveland. Carrasco's fastball sits at 91-94 mph and touches 96. His tumbling changeup is a legitimate strikeout pitch, featuring so much sink that at times it's confused with a splitter, and his slider also has its moments. He throws strikes but sometimes battles his command and leaves pitches up in the strike zone.
The Phillies once considered Carrasco their potential ace of the future, but they packaged him with three other prospects in a midseason deal for Cliff Lee. The Indians hope Carrasco can stabilize the front of their rotation, and he has the raw ability to do so. Carrasco has the potential for three plus pitches. When he's on, he throws a 92-96 mph fastball, a hard breaking ball and a changeup that has improved steadily. Consistency, however, has been Carrasco's kryptonite. Too often, he lacks confidence in his ability and can't repeat his delivery. As a result, he gets hit harder than a pitcher with his stuff should.
Carrasco threw 70 innings with Reading in 2007, and he was better for the experience. He still didn't dominate the league, and in the words of one manager, he still had a tendency to "fold up" in stressful situations. Yet scouts and managers and scouts liked his combination of size, athleticism and stuff. Carrasco reaches 95 mph with his fastball but has more control and life when he keeps it down around 92. He needs to pitch off his heater more often, however. His changeup remains an average-to-plus pitch with nasty sink and makes him more effective against lefthanders than righties. He worked to improve his direction to the plate, smoothing out his delivery a bit and aiding his command. Carrasco's curveball also improved and grades out as solid-average. Scouts agreed that he made "tons of progress." But one NL scout added, "He needs to use his fastball more; it's a good fastball and he doesn't pitch off it enough."
Carrasco is a long ways from a finished product, but he does have a pair of major league pitches. He throws a plus fastball that sits at 91-92 mph and touches 95 with good life, as well as a quality changeup. His mechanics are nearly picture-perfect, as he looks like he's throwing an easy side session while popping 92s and 93s. Carrasco's biggest concern is his consistency. When he begins a game with good stuff, he usually leaves hitters helpless. But when he doesn't, he has yet to show the savvy to win with less than his best. He tries to overthrow, which results in him leaving vulnerable fastballs up in the strike zone. He also needs to refine his curveball. Carrasco shows some feel for it and occasionally snaps off a plus bender, but he struggles to locate it.
Carrasco was a huge disappointment in the SAL a year ago, going 1-7, 7.04 in 13 starts. His second tour of the league was a different story, as he discovered a breaking ball to go with his electric fastball and advanced changeup to earn a spot in the Futures Game and lead Lakewood to a championship. Carrasco sits at 90-92 mph and touches 94 with his fastball. He'll also use a two-seamer when he wants to take a little bit off and add some tailing action. He has remarkable feel for his changeup that has sink and depth, and he maintains his fastball arm action when throwing it. He tends to fall in love with his curveball, and while it's improved it still needs more work. It has inconsistent break and more advanced hitters may not chase it out of the strike zone. He has clean mechanics and repeats them well, but he rushes his delivery and would be better off slowing it down.
At 17, Carrasco barely has scratched the surface of his potential. He put on 20 pounds this year and held his own in his professional debut, no-hitting the Tigers in one of his eight starts. Carrasco already has a lot going for him: smooth mechanics, a 91-92 mph fastball and the ability to throw a changeup at any point in the count. As he gets stronger, he should add velocity. He's still learning how to throw a breaking ball consistently for strikes.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Changeup in the Cleveland Guardians in 2010
- Rated Best Changeup in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009
- Rated Best Fastball in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009
- Rated Best Changeup in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008
- Rated Best Fastball in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008
- Rated Best Changeup in the Florida State League in 2007
- Rated Best Fastball in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007