by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It may be a bit of a surprise to see the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco ranked so highly on our 2016 rankings (click here to view). It’s certainly not like his 2015 numbers justify the ranking:
216 Strikeouts (10.58 K/9)
43 Walks (2.11 BB/9)
51.2% Groundball Rate
Or maybe they actually do, outside of the ERA (which was more based on poor luck than his skill set), and the perception of the pitcher clouds many people’s judgment. He showed all three skills that we look for from a pitcher, and did them all at elite clips. Can he maintain it? Can he take the next step? Let’s take a look.
His strikeout rate came courtesy of a 14.0% SwStr% and 40.0% O-Swing%, so clearly he had opposing hitters baffled. Those numbers alone would grab our attention, but realizing he did it with a five-pitch mix makes it that much better. It shows he has ample weapons to work with, and good ones at that given the Whiff%:
- Fourseam – 6.50%
- Sinker – 10.79%
- Change up – 19.12%
- Slider – 25.69%
- Curveball – 28.31%
Obviously the final two pitches are his put away pitches, and they are dominant. He threw a variation of a fastball just 55.6% of the time, consistently using his slider (22.3%), curveball (7.9%) and change up (14.1%).
With the swing and miss ability, as well as the pitch mix, there’s little reason to think that he won’t remain an elite strikeout artist.
He posted a 1.95 BB/9 in 2014 and was at 2.7 in over 400 innings at Triple-A. With opponents being so willing to chase outside the strike zone, there’s reason to believe that walks are not going to be an issue. Could his second half 2.39 mark be closer to the truth? Maybe, but that’s also a number no one is going to complain about.
Like his control, he was at 52.8% in 2014 so the trend has been there. Obviously he doesn’t utilize his sinker as much (15.08%), which makes you wonder if there could be a regression, but he clearly is getting opponents to drive other pitches into the ground. Of course this is only an issue when someone actually makes contact against him…
Interestingly, Carrasco struggled at home last season:
- Home – 5.03
- Road – 2.49
While he did have a greater line drive rate at home (21.2%), it doesn’t justify his .356 BABIP or 67.3% strand rate. There’s obviously reason to believe that an improvement is coming, and while he may not quite post his road ERA, a sub-3.00 mark should be there.
Exactly what is there not to like? He’s proven that he brings strikeouts, control and groundballs to the table, all of which could’ve brought elite numbers a year ago. A little bit better luck (overall he posted a .304 BABIP and 71.8% strand rate) and seeing him ranked so highly wouldn’t be questioned. With all of the numbers believable, he should reach that level in 2016.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Brooks Baseball
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|First Basemen||First Basemen||First Basemen|
|Second Basemen||Second Basemen||Second Basemen|
|Third Basemen||Third Basemen||Third Basemen|
|Outfielders: 1-20 | 21-40||Outfielders: 1-20 | 21-40||Outfielders: 1-20 | 21-40|
|Starting Pitchers: 1-20 | 21-40||Starting Pitchers: 1-20 | 21-40|
|Relief Pitchers||Relief Pitchers|