With the recent addition of starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, the New York Mets should expect stability in the starting rotation with promising results on and off the field.
With the recent addition of starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, the New York Mets have added a legitimate frontline starter that not only deepens their rotation but also adds another high character player to a clubhouse full of high-spirited personalities.
Barring another high-profile addition in the starting rotation (see Trevor Bauer), Carrasco figures to slide in the number two spot in the Mets rotation behind ace Jacob deGrom while Noah Syndergaard continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery.
There is no denying the make-up of Carlos Carrasco, as during the middle of the 2019 season Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia and wound up missing a sizeable portion of the season.
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However, Carrasco would end up returning to a mound in September of 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer and pitched an inning of relief.
Following the 2019 campaign, Carrasco would be named American League Comeback Player of the year and his story would become an inspiration not only across baseball but globally as well.
In 2020, Carrasco would return to the mound full time as a starting pitcher and make twelve starts while pitching to a very good 2.91 ERA and 1.206 WHIP. In the 68 innings pitched last season, Carrasco also struck out 82 batters.
Last season could’ve been considered the important of Carrasco’s career, as it went a long way to display that the 33-year old Venezuelan was completely healthy a year removed from his cancer diagnosis and that he also still possessed swing and miss stuff.
What the Mets can expect in 2021 from Carrasco is a high-end starting pitcher who still appears to be in the middle of his prime. Carrasco’s arsenal contains a four-seam fastball that hovers around 94 MPH, a slider, a split-changeup, and a curveball. He also flirted around with a sinker last season for the first time in his career, and by flirt I mean he only threw it 0.3% of the time.
Part of Carrasco’s success last season also could be attributed to him mixing in his lethal split-changeup more than he ever had previously in his career at a 27% clip according to Fangraphs, which certainly played a role in the success of keeping hitters off-balance. Carrasco’s slider also looked better than ever in 2020, as opposing hitters only hit .172 against that pitch with a 36.7% WHIFF%.
Carrasco can also be characterized as a guy you can depend on taking the mound every fifth day. From 2015-2018, Carrasco didn’t make over 30 starts only once and that was during the 2016 season in which he made 25 starts. Carrasco provides the Mets rotation dependability long on results which is something they severely lacked behind Jacob deGrom in 2020.
Off the mound, Carrasco is well known throughout the league for his charity efforts and that won’t change despite him now wearing a different uniform. Carrasco had won the Roberto Clemente Award back in 2019 for his pediatric cancer contributions in Cleveland.
The award is presented annually to a Major League player who best represents the game through character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions, on and off the field. Carrasco also has led numerous charitable efforts back in his native country of Venezuela as well as multiple other countries.
Make no mistake about it, Carlos Carrasco is the furthest thing from a throw-in from the recent Fransisco Lindor deal, as he is going to provide the organization value both on and off the field next season. It’s also important to note that the Mets will have Carrasco under contract for 2021 and 2022 at $12 million per year, with a $14 million vesting option for 2023 that includes a $3 million buyout which is extremely valuable for a franchise that will have both Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard entering their walk years.
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It’s completely fair to strongly predict that Carrasco has a season similar to his last full season back in 2018 where he made 30 starts, pitched to a 3.38 ERA to go along with a great 1.125 WHIP. Carrasco also struck out 231 batters over the 192 innings he pitched. If the Mets receive that sort of production from Carrasco in 2021, it’s very tough to envision them not having one of the best starting rotations statistically in baseball.