Second Time Around Better for Carter

Irv Carter, the Blue Jays 5th round pick last July has ben brought along slowly by the organization.

Carter made his pro debut in the Complex League this season, and was plodding along with an 8.31 ERA in 7 outings totalling 13 IP, when he threw a pair of five inning, shutout starts to begin August.

Not surprisingly, the farm department felt he was ready for a challenge with a promotion to the Florida State League.

Baseball America tagged Carter as the system’s 22nd top prospect last month:

Evaluators love Carter’s fierce and fiery mentality on the mound, earning the bulldog label from many. A three-pitch mix led by a low-90s fastball, that’s touched 96 mph, with spin rates in the 2,500-2,600 rpm range, Carter mixes in a split-changeup that has gotten plus grades from scouts, and a newly developed slider in the low 80s that has replaced a 12-6 curveball he used as an underclassman. Despite an intriguing pitch mix, Carter comes with question marks around his ability to start due to an extremely high-effort operation that features a pronounced head whack. Despite the explosive violence in his operation, he shows athleticism and control of his big frame often messing with timing, with Johnny Cueto-like pauses.

Here’s one of those Cueto-like pauses (Blue Jays fans can be forgiven if they call them Stroman-like):

Carter was roughed up in his first FSL start, giving up 4 runs (all earned) on 5 hits and a pair of walks in 3 innings of work. Last night was a chance to make amends against a decent Pirates Bradenton affiliate (the D-Jays were a half game back of the Marauders heading into last night’s game), and for the most part, Carter did.

Carter went 4 innings, giving up a run on 4 hits. He had trouble locating his 4 seam for much of the outing, and gave up some contact as a result.

Still, there’s much to be positive about in a first extended look at the young (won’t turn 20 until September) RHP. Carter’s athleticism is obvious – at the risk of sounding like a certain broadcaster, he looks like a pitcher with his long, lean build. Sitting 93-94 and touching 95 with his 4-seam, there’s plenty of room for added velo. His slider has sharp and late bite, but after getting ahead of hitters in the 1st inning, Carter was pitching from behind for much of the night, and his breaking pitch wasn’t as much of a weapon as it could have been. Carter’s mechanics are clean despite a fairly long arm stroke, and while the head whack was apparent, it would appear that he’s begun to tone it down. There is no doubt about his competitiveness and fiery demeanour on the mound.

All in all, this late season promotion should be something to build on for Carter. He has the frame and the fastball to dream on, but there’s still considerable work to be done.

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