Posts Tagged 'Joel Carreno scouting report'

Joel Carreno Makes First Start Of Season

New Blue Jays starting pitcher Joel Carreno has gone from a relative unknown to an overnight celebrity among Jays fans.   People are lighting up the search engines with his name in hopes of learning something, anything about the young right hander.  Count me among the curious so let’s have a quick look at what Carreno brings with a few musings after his first major league start today.

Carreno wasn’t exactly pumping in the strikes today versus the Indians as he really struggled with his control most of the day.  He battled through 6 innings and threw 97 pitches (57 for strikes) while allowing six hits and four earned runs, walking four batters and striking out three.

Carreno has a very simple, straight forward delivery and utilizes a three-quarter arm slot to produce solid movement on his three pitches.  Carreno’s delivery is reminiscent of a relief pitcher and it will be interesting to see how he fares two and three times through an MLB lineup. 

His delivery isn’t deceptive and hitters can definitely see the ball well out of his hand but he has had some success as a starter throughout his minor league career.  He throws a low 90s fastball with some sink as well as a curveball around 80 mph which he relies upon heavily.  He leaned heavily on the first two offerings last season and threw a change-up only 5% of the time last season.

Carreno will obviously have to show the change-up more frequently to keep hitters a little more honest.  A common misconception is a pitcher must throw three pitches to have success but there are many examples to the contrary.

Carreno is now 25-year olds and is getting too old for the levels he has pitched in recently.  In 2011 he pitched 134.2 IPs in AA and was highly successful with a 10.1 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9 and a 3.88 FIP.  The walks were definitely a concern but that was the first season he had a walk rate higher than 8.7%.  He was also impressive in a short cameo in the Blue Jays bullpen last season.

The Jays had an unexpected boost from Henderson Alvarez last season and while the situation is similar I don’t think Carreno has anywhere near the fastball (or upside) of Alvarez.  There is no doubt in my mind his future lies in the bullpen for the Jays given his size, delivery and overall repertoire.  However the Blue Jays have a need right now given Brett Cecil’s failure to impress during spring training. 

So why did the Jays select him as the early season starting pitcher replacement for Brett Cecil?  Carreno is an easy pick to fill in and give the Jays innings as he isn’t a highly touted prospect and the Jays won’t fret about his development at his age.  If he falters expect Drew Hutchison or Deck McGuire to possibly get a chance to give the Jays some much needed innings from the rotation.

Brett Cecil Demotion Highlites Blue Jays Questionable Starting Rotation

If there was an area a team needed improvement the most to potentially contend in the 2012 MLB season I would think the Toronto Blue Jays rotation would rank near the top of the short list.  With Jays nation abuzz with energy and excitement seeing the young team play with confidence in spring training one can’t help but think how far this team could go if they had added a starting pitcher or two to solidify the rotation.

With the news today that Brett Cecil has been option to AA and in his place oft-forgotten prospect Joel Carreno called up to take his place a giant spotlight has been shined on a glaring weakness.  Ricky Romero is a fine starting pitcher, and while he is not flashy, he is a real grinder.  He has the true talent of a number two but the dogged determination of an ace.

After that, while there is some definite upside, all bets are off.

*Speaking of bets, ranks the Toronto Blue Jays as the 8th most likely team to win the World Series in 2012, just behind the Tampa Bay Rays. 

Over/under set at 81.5

We have discussed Brandon Morrow in detail but to summarize he is an electric talent but riddled with question marks.  Is he simply the AL version of Ricky Nolasco?  A pitcher with fantastic peripherals and average results or can he put it all together in 2012?  The fact even our number two pitcher in the rotation has such question marks shows how fragile the group is.

Brett Cecil was slated to be our number three pitcher, he of the ZIPS projected 5.00+ ERA, 6.50+ spring ERA and current ticket holder of a bus to AA Dunedin.  I had very little confidence in Cecil heading into spring training, less now obviously.  His velocity was down, confidence seemingly back but result not matching the renewed efforts.

His replacement is an interesting guy in Joel Carreno, a seldom discussed prospect who has looked good in stretches for both the Jays in 2011 and as a starting pitcher in the minors.  He was lights out in the pen last season in the majors (15.2 IPs, 1.15 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 3.5 K/BB) and has an intriguing combination of pitches.  But still, he is a crapshoot at best, especially slotted (for now) as a number three starting pitcher in the AL East.

Henderson Alvarez is another guy with underwhelming statistics (strikeout numbers) but a pitcher I do actually like and have confidence in going forward.  He attacks the zone with a solid fastball and can keep it on the ground and hopefully out of the ballpark.  Again, he seems solid but to count on him for 200+ quality innings seems like a reach.

Finally how could you mention Jays starters and questionable without discussing Kyle Drabek, the teams number one (or two) rated prospect from a season ago.  After his sizzling debut versus the Seattle Mariners Jays fans were ready to forget about old’ Roy (ok, not even remotely true) but his season quickly came crashing into AL east reality. 

In short, he stunk.  He stunk badly.  However as bad as he was (did I mention he was bad?) Drabek is still a young guy with a big fastball and a competitive spirit.  I wouldn’t expect an ERA below 4.00 but if he can give the team 160-175 innings with a 4.50 ERA and 1.35 WHIP that would be a welcome addition as a number four/five starter.

Dustin McGowan will begin the season on the disabled list and given his long injury history is another long shot candidate to add any tangible value.

Much of what I have written should come as no surprise and Alex Anthopoulos is no fool.  He knew coming into the offseason the serious question marks surrounding the team’s starting pitching and if you believe the rumours he was interested in acquiring at least one or two of Gio Gonzalez, Mat Latos, Yu Darvish, Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt.

While I still don’t think 2012 is our season (though stranger things have happened) I am excited for the day when our robust offensive attack is matched by an equally impressive young starting pitching crew.  Five above average starters are needed to compete in the ruthless AL East against the three terror squads located in New York, Boston and Tampa Bay.

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