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New York Mets: Three Carlos Carrasco predictions for 2021

CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 25: Starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco #59 of the Cleveland Indians pitches to Colin Moran #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Progressive Field on September 25, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 25: Starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco #59 of the Cleveland Indians pitches to Colin Moran #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Progressive Field on September 25, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 30: Starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco #59 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning of Game Two of the American League Wild Card Series against the New York Yankees at Progressive Field on September 30, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

He will strikeout over 200 batters

Carrasco has never had the reputation of a “strikeout king” across MLB throughout his career. That title has mostly gone to prolific punch-out pitchers like deGrom, Max Scherzer, Shane Bieber, and Gerrit Cole, among many others. But Carrasco has rather quietly struck out 200+ batters three times in his career in 2015, 2017, and 2018. Two of those years, he finished in the top 15 in Al Cy Young voting. Even in the shortened season in 2020, he struck out 82 batters in 12 starts, which over 32 starts would have put him on pace for about 218 strikeouts.

Following the 2020 season, Carrasco is currently 33rd in strikeouts among active pitchers, ahead of prominent names like Charlie Morton, Patrick Corbin, Masahiro Tanaka, and a little-known pitcher named Trevor Bauer that we’ve barely talked about in recent months. To date, all 1305 of his career strikeouts came in the American League. Now that he’ll be pitching in the NL for the first time in his career, the opposing hitters will be far less familiar with Carrasco’s pitching arsenal than they have been in recent years. This should play to Carrasco’s strengths and bump up his strikeout totals even more in 2021.

The rate of strikeouts across MLB continues to increase every year since 2008, topping out at 42,823 in 2019 which shattered the previous year’s record by over 1000 Ks. 2019 also featured a record 22 MLB pitchers striking out 200 batters or more, a figure that surely would have included Carrasco had he pitched a full season. If Carrasco stays healthy and pitches a full year in 2021, he should be destined for a fourth career 200+ strikeout season.

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