Carlos Carrasco: Post Hype Fantasy Baseball Sleeper
From 2007 through 2009, Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco was ranked as one of the top-54 prospects in baseball per Baseball America. At his peak, the right-handed pitcher was the key piece leveraged by the Phillies to acquire Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. Five seasons and a Tommy John surgery later, Carrasco has 15 career wins to his credit and a career FIP of 4.16. His 2.2 WAR is just .5 wins more than Lee’s disappointing 2014 season. However, the Venezuelan native has been strong contributor to Cleveland’s bullpen this season, earning a starting nod on August 10th. Is he a post hype sleeper primed to finally cash in on his promise?
More often than not, prospects fail. When they do, fantasy baseball owners have short memories and are quick to write a player off as damaged goods. This is a win for astute owners who understand how talent ebbs and flows. It’s not as if this is Carlos Carrasco’s first dance either. In 2010, a seven start surge saw the former top-100 prospect find the sweet spot for predicting success for pitchers at the MLB level. With a 7.66 K/9, 2.82 BB/9 and 56.8 GB%, it’s no wonder he entered the following season as a prime sleeper target. in 2011, he improved from April-through-June before elbow issues ended in Tommy John surgery.
Carlos Carrasco returned in 2013 and achieved success in Triple-A. MLB hitters was less kind as he struggled with command, posting a three-plus BB/9 rate for the first time since a five start debut in 2009. After Tommy John surgery, command/control returns after the stuff, leaving pitchers working to rediscover success. Often, this doesn’t occur the first season back. 2014 was key in gauging Carrasco’s MLB future and the right-hander is passing every test with flying colors.
Across the board, Carrasco is achieving career bests in sweet spot pitching categories. his peripherals compare favorably to 2014 breakout performers including Garrett Richards and Jake Arrieta. If able to maintain current rates of 8.49 K/9, 2.31 BB/9 and 54.6% GB%, the Indians fifth starter is a guarantee for MLB success. And while a decrease in strikeouts is expected with a move to the starting rotation, Carlos Carrasco’s current peripherals leave a margin for error.
In past years, ROTOscouting’s “sweet spot peripherals” (> 7.00 K/9, < 3.00 BB/9, 50+ GB%) have been used to identify a number of breakout performers including Justin Masterson, Ivan Nova, Rick Porcello, Charlie Morton and Tyson Ross. While not a hard and fast rule, pitchers who surpass the benchmarks thrive and most who come close do too. The caveat is more strikeouts equals more margin for error.
Acquiring Carlos Carrasco
For the first time since starting the site, Team ROTOscouting is out of contention and looking to 2015. In the TDGX Experts League, Carrasco is already under team control and trade deadline deals will open roster spots in the Ottoneu Experts League as well. Owners continue to offer young, cheap pitching, but why acquire it if it can be had on the waiver wire? Expect Carrasco be added and kept for next season unless a competing owner reads this and makes a large bid.
When rebuilding a dynasty fantasy baseball team, cheap pitching is key. Even in a down year, an expensive Clayton Kershaw (since traded) and a group of cost-controlled hurlers including Zack Wheeler, Tyson Ross, Charlie Morton, Danny Duffy, Jeff Samardzija and Lance Lynn has resulted in a league best ERA. Instead of acquiring five, pitchers at $10-$20 per arm, spend big on an elite starter and surround him with a dollar store staff including Carlos Carrasco. And when slick fielding shortstop Francisco Lindor is making plays behind the former top-100 prospect, expect even better results.
13 Aug 2014 / Mike Newman / 1
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