I watched a bit of the Yankees/Indians game the Monday night on ESPN when Carlos Carrasco pitched seven shutout innings in Yankee Stadium against the Bronx Bombers. Carrasco loaded the bases in the first and allowed a couple of runners to get on in the second before settling down and allowing just three runners to reach base over the next five innings. Even in the midst of his struggles, Carlos Carrasco demonstrated that he has filthy stuff. His fastball sat at 91-92 MPH in the first few innings before he bumped it up to 94 MPH. The amazing thing, however, is the amount of movement that he is able to get on his two seam fastball. The ball bit hard in on the right handers while diving away from lefties. His slider had a hard two plane break and looked heavy whenever the Yankee hitters made contact. Also, Carrasco’s changeup dives hard out of the strike zone and could develop into a devastating out pitch.
As I was watching, I couldn’t help but think that I was watching a poor man’s version of Felix Hernandez. True, Hernandez dials up a little more heat to his fastball, and his breaking ball bites a bit harder and later than Carrasco’s, but the movement that each Venezuelan conjures on their pitches have profound swing and miss capabilities and heavy downward action that induces a high number of ground ball outs. These two things are primary ingredients that make a dominant pitcher.
The market for his rookie cards and autos is still quite low. His first year cards are in the 2005 Bowman and Bowman Chrome sets and several eBay auctions have ended at about $1.00-1.50 per card. His first autos are in the 2008 Bowman Sterling (w/ a jersey swatch) and Donruss Threads set (#/999). These cards have picked up in popularity since his mastery of the Yankees, but are still just $5-7 per auto.
I think there’s room to grow for Carrasco’s cards. Right now he sits with a record of 6-3 and has lowered his season ERA to 4.07. If he continues to enjoy this same level of success, I believe that the 24 year old could win 15 games in his first full major league season. Carlos Carrasco’s next start is slated for Saturday against another hot pitcher in Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm. Let’s see if he can continue the hot streak.