Carlson's performance the last couple of years can't exactly make him smile. (Credit: Wenatchee World)

Kris Carlson: Rays Go For Enigmatic Senior Sinkerballer in Round 35

You look at the stats and wonder why in the world some players were even drafted. But stats aren’t everything.

Kris Carlson is a 6’2″, 190 senior RHP at Colorado Mesa University. He was horrific in 2012, posting a 9.60 ERA in 13 relief appearances, striking out just 12 compared to 16 walks. At Abilene Christian University in 2011, he had 37 strikeouts in 33 innings but also 26 walks and 11 hit batsmen. Yet this is a player that was drafted by the Royals in 2010 in the 35th round out of Wenatchee Valley Community College and now here he is in the 35th round again. What’s going on here?

Carlson throws a late-breaking sinker in the low-90′s that is extremely hard to elevate when he locates it. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case too often as he can’t control it, let alone command it. Carlson also throws a slider that shows some nice movement but he has no idea where it’s going. Carlson shows the nice movement on his pitches and he may even have some projectability remaining. But he needs to work extremely hard to establish some control of his pitches.

Carlson is being selected here based on his pure stuff but he will be a project. If he somehow gets any control he has the ability to be a solid major league reliever and maybe more. But first thing’s first, he has to get some control. This is another upside pick by the Rays and we’ll have to see if Carlson can progress at all with his control to give himself  a chance.

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  • hstballer8

    The dude flat out throws cheddar with a hard “devastating” slider as I have heard scouts call it.  You would be a retard to think that everyone who is drafted is polished and ready to go. The point of the minor leagues is to work and get better. Drafting a guy like this is a great move considering he was an outfielder turn pitcher TWO years ago. Perhaps he learns some control. You can’t teach velocity especially when it touches 94 – 95 consistently.

  • RCG_Robbie

     @hstballer8 @hstballer8 Where did you get that perception? I can’t say my information is perfect here (maybe I should have said “low-to-mid 90′s”), but it’s pretty clear to everyone that Carlson isn’t polished. His control is his major problem and that’s what he’ll work on. He has shown some nice stuff (although his slider isn’t exactly devastating in my opinion without control) and that’s what the Rays will look to hone moving forward. Maybe he adds some velocity and you hope that you can help him get better control. But if he walks and hits as many batters as he strikes out, he is going nowhere. 

  • hstballer8

     @RCG_Robbie I have also heard another scout from a different organization say that his slider is already Major League  “average”. Add that to the fact that he already throws 95 and you can’t get much more potential and upside for a pitching prospect.  Finding control is not too difficult of a task once he gets under the wing of some great minor league coaches whose goal isn’t winning but rather making players better, unlike most college coaches. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kris jump through the Rays organization since he has the raw materials. 

  • RCG_Robbie

     @hstballer8 That’s fair and I hope that happens. Can always use another electric bullpen arm. I’m a little worried about his control, but his stuff is real and hopefully he can make enough progress to take advantage of that at the big league level.