Carrasco Comes Calling

Posted by Ben Seal, Mon, June 29, 2009 02:00 PM | Comments: 31
Minor Leagues, Posts, Prospecting

Carlos CarrascoFor three years in a row he has been the top-ranked pitcher in the Phillies system. For three years he has given reason to believe that somewhere down the line the team would have a dynamic 1-2 punch in the rotation.

There is plenty left to be seen with Carlos Carrasco, and the results could swing in so many directions, but Thursday night is the one we have been anticipating for three years. If “likely” becomes “definitely” and Carrasco is called up to fill the void Antonio Bastardo’s injury created in the rotation, the long-awaited glimpse of the future will finally arrive.

Carrasco’s development in the minor leagues has been at times dazzling and at times difficult to watch. His was not a smooth transition from one level to the next, constantly growing as a pitcher on a steady plane toward the big leagues. Instead, it included several bumps along the way, several long stretches of starts where nothing seemed to work for the Venezuelan righthander.

But in the middle of his fifth season in the Phillies farm system, Carrasco is about to get his first taste of the spotlight, and it will come against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Thursday. The pitcher who for three years has carried with him hopes of becoming a No. 2 starter will do just that. He follows the team’s struggling ace, Cole Hamels, who will pitch Wednesday. It seems only right that if Carrasco is successful and sticks in the rotation, it will be behind Hamels.

After working his way through rough patches in April and May, Carrasco’s ERA in June was 4.06 with Lehigh Valley. His last two starts have been stellar, allowing two runs over 13.1 innings and striking out 12. The curveball that Brett Myers taught him in spring training has developed into another out pitch, which coupled with his low-to-mid-90s fastball and devastating changeup should make him a complete starting pitcher. In recent weeks Carrasco has begun to put a slider to use. His further expanded repertoire is essential for the major league level, where it takes multiple out pitches to fool professional hitters.

Carrasco’s pitching coach with the Iron Pigs, Rod Nichols, was glowing after Carrasco’s outing Friday night.

“I used the word ‘electric,’” Nichols said. “His stuff was electric.”

Furthermore, Nichols said that “he does have stuff that would play at the big-league level.” That has always been the key with Carrasco, who despite high ERAs and troublesome outings has always maintained an assortment of quality pitches. Once he’s pitching against Chipper Jones and Brian McCann, it will come down to his mental makeup and ability to use those pitches in the right spots.

Carrasco is equipped right now with the stuff to be a pitcher at the top level of baseball. Reining in all of his talent and directing it all into the most important game of his life will be the next step toward establishing himself.

Thursday night will be special for Phillies Nation. Four seasons ago on May 12, Cole Hamels made his debut in a Phillies uniform, spinning 5 shutout innings of one-hit ball and striking out 7. It was the start of what will be a long and illustrious career for the lefty. But Hamels has spent three seasons as the best pitcher on the staff without a No. 2 anchor behind him. Carrasco has always been that potential second starter, and with the pitching market drying up lately, the Phils might need him to be just that. Thursday he gets his shot.

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Ben Seal has written 48 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Richie

    This is going to be a huge night for the phils as a whole. There will be a whole lot of scouts down there in ATL, you can count on that. I think he will be fine. I had heard reports that his main problem was staying interested…well he won’t have to worry about that…I can’t wait to see the kid pitch. Atleast it is on the road, so the bats will be alive.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    We have to ground expectations, at best it could take a couple of years for Carrasco to start really tapping into his potential. There’s obviously a reason so many inside the game are so incredibly high on this guy, the Phils front office does seem to feed off the impatience of the fans and I fear for this kid in this city.

  • Posts: 0 The Little Guy

    Hamels debut was on my birthday May 12 baby, sweeet.

  • Posts: 0 Chooch's Cooches

    you can’t say myers was not a number 2

  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    No official word on who will fill in for Bastardo. Obviously, many here is expecting Carrasco. I have this feeling the front office may be a little gun shy because of Bastardo’s disappointing lack of command and choice of pitches. They may not want to expose Carrasco to the NL hitters this soon in the season. Here comes Kyle Kendrick. ;-)

  • Posts: 0 J A Happy

    IF the kid can chug along with Moyer-Blanton type #s while learning his craft great,but i am not impressed with Dubee,can any one shed some light why i should think Dubee can help this kid? That said i think he’s got the stuff to stick.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Well, I’m excited. Braves aren’t a great hitting team, so let’s hope for the best.

    He can’t be worse than Bastardo’s non-Petco Park starts.

  • Posts: 0 beta sigma shag

    I admit it all i saw of Carrasco was a couple innings in ST. I was not impressed but I am not a baseball scout or general manager, or coach. I love the phillies and the game. That being said let us not set this guy up as the right handed Cole Hamels.
    I think the Phillies are hesitant on bringing the guy up cause once he is in the Majors they want him to stay here. I think Moyer may be able to help him like he did Cole the last two years. But just like Bastardo one start does not an ace make. Like they did with Bastardo you put him in the rotation and he pitches every fifth day, bad outing he goes out 5 days later, gives up 4 runs in the first go out and shut them down for two or three innings. See what he has, who knows maybe he is not great but someone out there sees something in him and wants him, I would love to see him succeed in a phillies uniform. It would be nice to have a rotation in 5 years like this

    Hamels (the elder statesmen)

    Carrasco (co ace #2)
    JA Happ (strong #3)

    That would be a nice dream that they all come along and be that good.

  • Posts: 0 J A Happy

    Beta,if your gonna dream 5 years from now add 98 mph knapp in that mix

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Knapp and then you still have Bastardo, Worley, Stuttes, Savery, Flande, Chapman, Naylor and don’t forget Carpenter as well as we the guys we’ll be talking about from this years draft class. Hell of a lot of talent and trade bait.

  • Posts: 0 Jackson

    First off you cant tell by AAA. Hitters are high school hitters. I go to the trenton thunder which is AA and laugh. I could go out there and hit better. All American hs and PAC 10 college player of the year. I played in Japan. I had a bad injury and will never play again. I played in the Tampa farm league and its a joke.

  • Posts: 0 The Little Guy

    Nice Jackson.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff of NoVa.

    Yeah and I guess Jackson that is why you are here cause you couldn’t hit guys like Carrasco and Drabek:)


    I am excited for Thursday, Beer needs to be Sam’s Summer Ale!!! Cause I will be drinking alot of them!

  • Posts: 0 J A Happy

    Jackson u sound bitter, Cheer up Carrasco is on his way, and the phils are WFC’S

  • Posts: 0 mikemike

    I remember Jackson he was a 23 round choice. couldn’t field . and tampa bay sold him to japan, where he was in that Tom Selleck movie, Mr. Baseball he was the center fielder. he was a career 239 hitter in tokyo league.

  • Posts: 0 Jackson

    I guess you can say I am very bitter. I love baseball. I realize they do not want to rush Drabek. He will be a superstar. Carrasco is better then Bastardo. I have seen them both pitch alot. Bastardo has one pitch. He has no confidents in his change up. Major league hitters are crushing him. Stick him in the bullpen. You have Hamels, Blanton, Carrasco, and Happ. Make a trade for Lee. I would package Marson, Donald, and Savory. Get it done.

  • Posts: 0 J A Happy

    Wasn’t Jackson the Straw that stirred the drink that year for Tokyo?

  • Posts: 0 Dan

    hey jackson, get over yourself. You had a bad injury that ended your career…get over it and move on

  • Posts: 0 christopher

    easily one of the games i’ve been most excited about this season. after coming off a desperately needed series win in toronto, i’m really looking forward to this week for the fightin phils.

  • Posts: 0 jb

    espn.com has carrasco penciled in as a probable for thursday

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    No one knows what to expect but at some point you have to push the farm along. At some point, these young arms need to be challenged. This is as much about promoting Drabek/Savery as it is about promoting Carrasco. Carrasco might not be where we hoped that he would be but there has to be room for promotion… everyone has earned that. Further, the organization needs room to grow… let’s see what he’s got and take it from there. I’m not sure what we’ll see but hopefully it’s good enough to stick and grow alongside the veterans. Hopefully, he’ll learn a thing or two from guys like Jamie Moyer and Scott Eyre, while they’re still around.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Headline on MLB.com: Ibanez unlikely to return from DL Friday

    So that[s bad news, looks like more John Mayberry Jr. for us.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Jackson – I wish Marson, Donald, and Savery could get Cliff Lee. I would drive them all to the airport. Man, Carrasco is only 22. Wow. Thats young. Gotta give him some time. I remember when the Braves brought up three young guys the same year when they were real young and they got torched for about two years after that. They were Smoltz, Glavine, and Steve Avery. They had to grow up in the majors. I like the idea of Bastardo going to the pen. In fact, I love it. Go Jimmy.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Check that – wasn’t quite the same year for those Braves guys but it sure did seem like it.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Damn.. no Raul????? :(

  • Posts: 0 ryan

    Cole Hamels is struggling? not really. he’s had a few rough starts but I would hardly say he’s struggling

  • Posts: 0 bigbobster

    Dipsey, your right on, the Braves were not afraid to bring up the young talent….Smoltz won 12 games with an ERA under 3 as a 22-year old. After looking that up, I played around on baseballreference.com….WS winners this decade to have a meaningful starter in the 22 age range: Florida in 03 — Dontrelle Willis (21) — before that 02 Angels and Lackey (23)…I’ve never seen Carrasco’s stuff, so I won’t dare compare him to those two, but it’s happened….in 90′s too…Livan Hernandez (21) for 97 Marlins

  • Posts: 0 LH

    The Phillies farm system of today is an unrecognized face compared to many years past when the club walked the sidewalk along with the ladies of the night past the original Trocadero. I complement the organization that has someone who can come up from the minors, (albeit early), like Carrasco. He’s an uncut gem who will grind his way through Thursday’s major league start. What flaws have yet to be identified? He’s young and can implode upon himself, especially if his command fails. Hopefully he’ll be able to often pitch from the stretch. Cameras and reporters will be close by but Ruiz will be there to shield and feed him. The reflection of facets that have transformed him thus far should allow the rookie to have a nice debut. Or at least until the majors league hitters get a handle on his pitch selection and release and after that it’s up to him to adjust. But he will get all the attention from a club looking for a fifth starter in the rotation.

  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    Yeah Bigbobster, and now Dontrelle has been DL’d twice this season for anxiety disorder.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    You can’t compare Dontrelle of Smoltz and tough to draw comparisons to Lackey. Atlanta were a horrible team when they assembled the Smoltz/Maddux/Glavine monster to re-build that franchise. The Marlins are a small market team who live on getting their talent up and they’ve burnt twice as many prospects as have succeed with them.

    There are some prospects you can get up and wait on to develop and some that need extensive time in the minor leagues to learn their craft, Carrasco is the later. You don’t get a second chance with these guys. The Phils need to do a better job finding major league roles for prospects like Boston do or the Dodgers or Cubs but that doesn’t mean you immediately go to your prominent prospects.

    I hope Carrasco succeeds and sticks with the major league club but again keep expectations grounded, if he gets beaten up in an audition in Philly he’ll be back and stronger.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Going into a playoff series right now.. I think they would go Hamels, Blanton, Happ, Moyer …

    HAPP should be the #2 …. and if Carrasco or anyone at the trade deadline can be more consistent than Moyer, we’re looking alright come playoff time!

    I’ll be away in upstate NY on Thursday.. and won’t get to watch Carrasco pitch.. wish we were playing the Mets starting Thurs instead of Fri !!!

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