I nearly didn’t write this post, because, even as I write this in November, Carlos Carrasco seems overhyped for a sleeper. So, a big part of the equation, will a guy be more valuable than his draft spot, hence be a sleeper, work for Carrasco? I’m not entirely sure. There’s no ADP data right now. Since I think Carrasco could be a top 20 starter by the end of 2015 and I don’t think he’s going to be ranked near that, then he’ll likely still have his sleeperitude. Carrasco can teach us a good lesson and you know I’m hot for teacher. Carrasco exemplifies why it’s nice to look at a guy like Trevor Bauer, Randall Delgado or any young pitcher, but not to expect too much. Carrasco was a sexy prospect in the Phillies system back in 2009, and only now four years later is it appearing that he could actually become what we once thought of him. And by ‘we’ I mean me. Because I’m not embarrassed of my past mistakes, here’s what I wrote five years ago, “Pursue Carlos Carrasco in your 2009 fantasy drafts. All of them. Hold on, I’m bring out the caps — ALL OF THEM. Now don’t make go get the exclamation mark. If Carrasco doesn’t make the club out of spring training, he’ll soon be there and will make an impact. If he does make the team but only as a long man out of the bullpen, he will soon be starting. Don’t worry about what the Phils will be saying out of spring training.” And that’s me making myself blush! I jumped the gun a tad on that. If Carrasco and I were in Deadwood, Carrasco would’ve just turned to about face when I shot him in the back, that’s how much I jumped the gun on him. I obviously underestimated how much the Phils would Mr. Bungle their entire team. Anyway, what can we expect of Carlos Carrasco for 2015 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Last year, he put up 9.4 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 2.66 xFIP in 134 IP. Those numbers essentially make him a candidate for a top 20 SP even if his name were Bartolo Colon. If Carrasco were throwing 89 MPH with those numbers, then I’d give you a series of caveats and why he shouldn’t have been so good. But, as I knew back in 2009, and that which has not changed (“and that which?” Move over, Jive, I have a new 2nd language, it’s English.), Carrasco throws hard. Last year, he averaged 95 MPH on his fastball. As with most guys that throw fast, his control had been an issue when he was younger, but last year he barely walked two guys per nine (officially 1.95 BB/9 — rounding is for sandpaper!). I’ve hit on this before, but it’s worth repeating. An easy way to judge a pitcher is take a pitcher’s K-rate and walk rate and subtract them. If the difference is 5, then the pitcher should be usable. If the difference is 6, then they are ownable in every league and solid. If the difference is 7, then they have a chance to be an ace, i.e., Carrasco could be an ace. The only thing stopping Carrasco is his lack of a track record. To go with a 95 MPH fastball, he has an 88 MPH change that falls off the table. His change is so nasty — Game Show Refrain, “How nasty is it?!” — he threw it 241 times last year, and he gave up one double and 8 singles, and had a .173 BAA. Oh, then he has a slider that has a .126 BAA. His slider causes a swinging strike 27.6% of the time. Sound good? Yeah, Kershaw’s is only 29.6%. I just got goose pimplies. A pitcher’s ability to get swinging strikes is paramount to Ks; Carrasco was the fourth best in the league at getting swinging strikes for every starter with at least 130 IP. Could he be another Kluber? Well, if he would’ve had another 90 IP, he would’ve been Kluber last year. That could be his only drawback. I’m not sure how many innings he will throw in 2015. I’m going to guess 190 IP and give him the projections of 13-6/3.27/1.09/192. Yes, that’s the numbers of a top 20 starter. Let the feeding frenzy begin.