If there is one player on the New York Mets roster who is taking no days off this offseason look no further than Starting Pitcher Carlos Carrasco. Looking to rebound from his disappointing debut in 2021 with the Mets, Carrasco has been putting in the hard work this winter to reverse his fortunes going into the 2022 regular season.
Carrasco has been documenting himself on his personal Instagram page working out throughout the month of January as he prepares for an important season in Queens that is filled with sky-high expectations. The 34-year old Carrasco, who tore his hamstring in Spring Training, never really gained his footing when he finally made his debut on July 30th against the Cincinnati Reds.
Carrasco ended his 2021 season with only 12 starts and an unsightly 6.04 ERA. You could argue he never really looked comfortable on the mound at any point during the season, and he admitted as much after the season that he dealt with a bone fragment in his pitching elbow that he would undergo surgery on this offseason.
Carlos Carrasco is putting together a solid offseason of training after his Mets debut on the mound had left a lot to be desired.
The Mets certainly had high expectations when they acquired Carrasco last offseason alongside shortstop Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Guardians and it's safe to say they were highly disappointed with Carrasco's results. However, it's great to see Carrasco training this month as he gears himself up for a season in which he will play a huge role in stabilizing the Mets starting rotation behind stalwarts Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.
Health will be an important factor in terms of Carrasco's impact this season and Carrasco has normally been a workhorse which makes 2021 seem more like an outlier than anything. Since 2015, Carrasco had only made less than 25 starts in a season twice prior to joining the Mets, which was in 2020 and 2019.
In 2020, Carrasco had made all 12 of his regular-season starts in a pandemic shortened season. In 2019, Carrasco had only made 12 starts due to being diagnosed with leukemia in the middle of the season. Outside of his cancer diagnosis in 2019, Carrasco has been a reliable starter and I would fully anticipate a bounce-back campaign this season in which he looks to be finally healthy after the offseason operation.
FanGraphs Steamer currently projects Carrasco to make 26 starts for the Mets this season over 144 innings to go along with a 4.09 ERA. Those numbers would obviously be a huge upgrade over his numbers last season. But I would not be shocked if he makes closer to 30 starts as well as pitches closer to his career ERA of 3.86 which he has been much closer to or had been below outside of the 2021 and 2019 seasons.
There's no other way to chalk up Carrasco's importance to the Mets starting rotation this season. A huge bounce-back season could easily give the Mets one of the best overall rotations in all of Major League Baseball outside of their elite 1-2 combo at the top of it.