Ideally, the Indians can get through the remainder of the season with suffering through another Carlos Carrasco outing.
But with Corey Kluber on the DL, Scott Kazmir recently having been skipped in the rotation with a dead arm and Danny Salazar still essentially an unknown, it’s entirely possible that Carrasco will be forced into another spot start. And in a tight playoff race, every game matters.
Regardless of when Carrasco makes his next appearance, one thing is clear: he needs to learn how to pitch.
The concept of “pitching” versus “throwing” is one that’s ingrained in pitchers from a young age, but clearly one that Carrasco has yet to fully grasp.
258 of Carrasco’s 666 pitches (38.7 percent) have topped 95 miles per hour on the radar gun – an impressive rate, and a key reason why the Tribe still has high hopes for the 26-year-old.
The problem, however, is that no one is intimidated by Carrasco’s fastball. Of those 258 pitches, opposing batters have offered at 130 of them and whiffed just seven times. That’s a “miss rate” of just 5 percent, well below the major league average of 20 percent and worst in the majors among the 91 pitchers with at least 150 95-mph fastballs thrown.
An upper-90s fastball may sound intimidating to you and me, but a flat upper-90s fastball like the one Carrasco has been serving up might as well be placed on a tee as far as major league hitters are concerns. As a result, Carrasco has yielded a .322 opponents batting average on the pitch.
The concept that miss percentage relates to success is a fairly easy one to grasp, and a trend that holds true for all but a very small percentage (the Jamie Moyers of the baseball world). But if there was any doubt, just check out the chart below.
This chart features all right-handed pitchers with at least eight starts this season, graphed by their overall miss percentage (on the x-axis) and their WHIP (on the y-axis). Carrasco is represented by the Chief Wahoo logo in the upper left-hand corner.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, in the lower right-hand corner, is Yu Darvish, Matt Harvey, and Max Scherzer.
[On a related note, Carrasco has now gone 13 consecutive starts without picking up a victory. Only three starters in team history have put together a longer streak, with the pace set by Justin Masterson, who went 17 straight starts in 2009 and 2010]