Overlooked in the trade where the Cleveland Indians dealt star shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets was the team also including veteran starter Carlos Carrasco as well. Long a major favorite of this publication, Carrasco has had a tremendously underrated career to this point and at the age of 34 and coming off a terrific 2020 campaign, the guy one again looks like a nicely priced SP 2.
Digging in on a little Carrasco history, the power starter really broke through in 2014 in putting injuries and wildness behind him. From that point forward, Carrasco has been one of the most underrated power arms in the game who in five of the last seven seasons has logged an ERA under 3.50. Add to that a strikeout ability where he K/9 has been over 10.00 in five of those seven seasons and one can really see why we love owning Carrasco so much. One of those "off" seasons from Carrasco came in 2019 when he put forth a 5.29 ERA but throw this out given the fact he was coming off leukemia and his body was simply not ready for pitching. Last season showed that Carrasco was all the way back as his 2.91 ERA and 10.85 K/9 could attest and with 3 seasons of over 200 K's in the books, count on anything big season in store for the veteran in 2021.
Now in terms of this season, Carrasco showed a year ago the strikeout ability is still very much there and the stuff remains as tough to hit as ever. Yes Carrasco is getting up there at the age of 34 during the season but we feel strongly that at least for 2021, he should be fine. You do have to worry about some August-September fatigue given how little has pitched the last two seasons in terms of raw innings but you can say the same thing about almost every other pitcher given the shortened 2020. Add in the fact Carrasco will now pitch in the National League with their weaker lineups (especially if the DH is not brought back to the league) and we are firmly grading him as an SP 2. The best part is that Carrasco may be able to be had at an SP 3 price and so we are buying all the way.
2021 PROJECTION: 14.8 3.38 ERA 1.17 WHIP 215 K