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

By Robbie Knopf

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.