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July 13, 2009
  
Scouting Report: Robert Carson

Robert Carson (5 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 6 K) - After receiving some serious publicity by tossing a three-hit, nine-inning shutout versus the Lexington Legends, prospect junkies are clamoring for whatever information they can find on the young lefty. On the evening I watched him pitch, he threw against Tim Beckham and the Tampa Bay Rays’ Sally League affiliate. While not dominating, his performance placed him squarely on my prospect radar and I will be seeing him throw again in the next couple of weeks to see how he has improved. A fan favorite here in Savannah, Carson can be found on nights he doesn’t pitch dancing with Gnate the Gnat and entertaining his many fans. His personality has endeared him to Sand Gnats fans, and he brings the same excitement to the mound.

Physique and Athleticism: At 6′3″, 220 lbs., Carson has the build of a durable innings eater. He’s a big-body type who will constantly have to monitor his weight as he ages. For now, he’s simply a strong young man who could probably add a bit more strength to his base to complement his already filled out upper body. As an athlete, I haven’t seen him tested much except for pre-game dance offs to Soulja Boy. However, you won’t find many non-athletes who can dance. He has a fluid throwing motion and looks free and easy touching 90 on the radar gun—a good sign for the possibility of his adding a couple more ticks on the radar gun.

Mound Presence: Carson might be the fastest working pitcher I’ve ever seen. He was practically a pitching machine. Fielders must love playing behind him, as he doesn’t waste any time. He’s focused, excitable, and is the type of pitcher fans pay to see throw every fifth day. He’s puts on a show with his pitching performance, much like Dontrelle Willis at his best. His charisma is undeniable and on a night where I hoped to stay impartial, I found myself rooting for Carson to be successful.

Fastball: Consistently 88-91 MPH and topping out at 92, he’s the hardest throwing lefy I’ve seen this season. He worked the pitch in-and-out, filling the zone and producing quick innings. I’ve read he throws a cutter, but I didn’t see it on this occasion, as his velocity remained consistent throughout. The Rays were able to pepper the fastball for a number of singles, but he gave up only one extra base hit.

Slider: An average big-league offering, the pitch needs a bit more bite crossing the plate before the pitch starts producing more strikeouts than weak groundballs. With down-and-in movement to right-handed hitters, it’s no wonder his GB% is above 60% for his career. At 82 to 84 MPH, the pitch has excellent velocity and could become a true weapon as he matures. My one concern with the slider is his arm action, which, combined with his tendency to short-arm the ball, could lead to future injury.

Changeup: His least memorable offering, he threw it in the 78-80 MPH range. On the few occasions he turned to the pitch, he had a tendency to leave the offering up in the zone and needs to work on finishing the pitch. As with most pitchers, the development of this third offering will help determine whether Carson can remain a starting pitcher long-term.

While Robert Carson has been helped by a little luck (FIP is a run higher than his ERA), his one homerun allowed and 63% groundball rate in 92 1/3 innings of work are dominating statistics. In July, he has also shown the rates one would expect to see out of a top pitching prospect, with a strikeout rate near 20% and walk rate just over 3%. While not a true top prospect yet, he’s well on his way to becoming a top 10 player in the Mets’ organization and may already be there. As for most young pitchers, Carson needs to become more consistent to harness his potential and a strong third offering will determine whether Carson can become a 200+ inning, back-of-the-rotation bulldog or two pitch stalwart out of the pen. With a 0.40 ERA versus lefties, he could probably have some success right now as a LOOGY.


12 Responses to “Scouting Report: Robert Carson”

  1. Comment posted by Danny on July 13, 2009 at 8:35 am (#1031474)

    However, you won’t find many non-athletes who can dance.

    Haha, I always say this, too. Good middle infielders can always dance. And comedians who do good voice impressions can always sing. These are facts.

    Thanks so much for doing this, Mike. Carson caught my attention with a great debut last year for the GCL Mets, but all I’ve ever known of him was whatever statistics he was compiling. Love to hear that he has a great personality and is a fan favorite. His stuff definitely sounds like it has potential. I’m a little concerned with the lowish K rate, and it will be important to see if his GB rate will stay as dominant as he moves up levels. But this guy is definitely on my radar and I can’t wait to see what you have to say about him after you see him again.

  2. Comment posted by John on July 13, 2009 at 8:50 am (#1031475)

    Great article.

    There always a ton of information about the major league team but there seems to be alot less information about minor league players.

    Having articles like this might show people there’s other prospects in the system besides the usual ones that get mentioned. Prehaps ppl wont be so quick to bash the farm system.

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  4. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on July 13, 2009 at 9:04 am (#1031476)

    Having articles like this might show people there’s other prospects in the system besides the usual ones that get mentioned. Prehaps ppl wont be so quick to bash the farm system.

    yeah, but it seems even the guys whose JOB it is to scout the minors bash the Mets’ system!

  5. Comment posted by John on July 13, 2009 at 9:20 am (#1031479)

    The general perception from sites like Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus is that we are a middle of the road farm system.

    That one scout………he went Buffalo. AAA is becoming a place for washed up vets, not so much prospects. You go down to AA and u see Holt,Mejia,Davis,Thole. You go down even further and u see more talent.

  6. Comment posted by Hubie on July 13, 2009 at 9:25 am (#1031480)

    While there is no doubt the Mets farm system is quite mediocre, its almost like the thing to do right now is bash the Mets, Omar and the farm system. Nothing like kicking a dog when its down.

  7. Comment posted by ScoutingtheSally on July 13, 2009 at 9:34 am (#1031484)

    Glad you all enjoyed the Carson piece. If you want to read more, check me out at scoutingthesally.

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  9. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on July 13, 2009 at 9:36 am (#1031487)

    true, John….I guess we’ll see how it all works out down the road

    however, imho, for a guy who’s discovered and signed talent (Omar), our system should be much stronger than it is - not simply middle of the road

  10. Comment posted by madisonmetsfan on July 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm (#1031574)

    This stat caught my attention–Carson’s allowed 42 runs, only 22 of them earned. That’s nearly 50% unearned runs. Do the Sand Gnats strap pieces of plywood to their fielders’ hands in lieu of gloves, or is this just reflective of generally poor defense in the Sally League?

  11. Comment posted by John on July 13, 2009 at 2:28 pm (#1031591)

    Marte himself has like 32 errors last time I checked lmao.

  12. Comment posted by ScoutingtheSally on July 13, 2009 at 2:35 pm (#1031595)

    Their defense is pretty horrendous although Wilmer Flores is better defensively than he gets credit for.

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  14. Comment posted by TLC on July 13, 2009 at 9:43 pm (#1031650)

    No mention of the Mohawk he is sporting :(

  15. Comment posted by ScoutingtheSally on July 13, 2009 at 10:01 pm (#1031652)

    I totally forgot the mohawk. I was sitting behind him and scott schwinden a couple of weeks back and was able to check it out from all angles. It was kind of a feux-hawk though as I have never seen it down to the skin on the sides of his head.

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