At 21, right-hander Carlos Carrasco is knocking on the door to the big leagues and is building on his consistent regular-season finish this fall with Caracas of the Venezuelan league.
Reading the scouting reports these last few years and there’s this notion that Carrasco’s high side would be as a big league No. 3. It’s starting to look like the young Venezuelan might have even more upside than that. In five abbreviated starts this fall, the increasingly imposing 6-3 righty is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA and 19/4 K/BB ratio, building on the vastly improved control he ended with at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Armed with a plus fastball, plus change and improving breaking ball, scouts were initially concerned about his performance with runners on base, a problem blamed on inexperience and made worse by the possibility that he was brought along too fast. Since then, the last report I read came from a rival scout wondering how Carrasco wasn’t already in the Majors.
Carrasco, who finished ‘08 going 2-2 with a 1.72 ERA in six starts with Lehigh Valley, is mentioned in most trade rumors, namely those involving Colorado’s Matt Holliday. A possible Holliday/Carrasco swap came up once before in July at a time when Carrasco was sideline with minor arm problems. Back healthy, his future looks quite promising and will be placed in the hands of either Rod Nichols at Lehigh Valley, who had a terrific season overseeing J.A. Happ and a number of others, including Brett Myers, or Rich Dubee in Philadelphia, representing improvements over pitching coach Tom Filer, who was dismissed from Reading after the season.
In fact, Carrasco’s future is so bright that Ruben Amaro Jr. may want to consider taking the young starter off the table entirely, with the idea that Carrasco could jumpstart Philadelphia's next wave of title contenders.