by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Carlos Carrasco continues to produce at an extremely high level, though when you look at the early rankings you see him barely slotted among the Top 10 starters (and in some cases outside of it). That’s a hard sell, considering these numbers from ’17:
226 Strikeouts (10.17 K/9)
46 Walks (2.07 BB/9)
45.2% Groundball Rate
In fact, when you look at the numbers instead of thinking that he’s guaranteed to regress there’s a good chance he takes another step forward in 2018.
Over the past three seasons he’s made 87 starts in the Majors and has shown elite control each year:
- 2015 – 2.11
- 2016 – 2.09
- 2017 – 2.07
Why would we expect anything to change?
Like with his control, the number shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Just look at his SwStr% // strikeout rate over these past three seasons:
- 2015 – 14.0% // 10.58
- 2016 – 12.0% // 9.23
- 2017 – 13.4% // 10.17
He’s got one clear strikeout pitch in his slider (26.86% Whiff%), and he complements with two other pitches that generate swings and misses (his curveball is at 18.06% and his changeup is at 17.41%). Like with his control there’s little reason to expect a sudden change.
He has been trending in the wrong direction, which is a slight red flag:
- 2015 – 51.2%
- 2016 – 48.5%
- 2017 – 45.2%
The 2017 mark is still enough, and he also showed signs late in the season (46.2% in August, 48.1% in September). Overall he posted a 0.95 HR/9 and there’s no reason to think home runs will suddenly hurt him.
There’s little not to like, as Carrasco seems like a near lock to produce control, strikeouts and enough groundballs. Throw in that his luck could improve (.307 BABIP), considering his 29.3% Hard% was the 17th lowest among qualified pitchers, and the package looks that much better. Let others make the mistake of undervaluing him, as you can argue that there’s a better chance of him being a Top 5 starter as opposed to falling outside the Top 10.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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|Starting Pitchers||1-20: 02/20/18|