John (Ross) Carver, RHSP, ARI, 22, A+
Carver is one of those perfect guys to figure out if they are good or not. He has an incredibly interesting history. The righty was drafted out of Dallas Baptist as a Junior after having a rather lackluster season. He pitched 11.1 innings out of relief with a 6.35 ERA. This wouldn’t be his only year out of relief. Prior to this season, Carver only started 2 games and threw a net total of 59.6 innings. That is only 3 innings short of his current season in High A out of Hillsboro. Frankly, this is one of the few times I think I’ve found someone.
Carver measures in a 6’2", 191 pounds. He has an athletic build, but his mechanics do leave a little to be desired. He puts a lot of pressure on his shoulders, completely opening his shoulder as he drives. This causes his body position to be completely lateral, with his momentum moving right to left instead of north to south. He completely locks up his front knee, where he could probably accumulate another mile an hour or two from a more athletic delivery.
I want to reiterate that success can come from mediocre to bad. The concern is that his shoulder cannot sustain high workloads needed to be a starter. His pitches on the other hand tend to be electric.
The 20th rounder features three pitches that I have seen that are already playable to good offerings. His slider/curveball as great vertical and horizontal break. He flips it incredibly well and shows it just like his fastball. His changeup could be better, but it does show some vertical and horizontal drift. He uses his breaking ball against both right-handed batters and left-handed batters effectively. His fastball has good speed through the zone as well. Overall, I would say based on a scouting outlook he could really carve(r) out a role in the rotation but will most likely find himself in long relief.
From a statistical perspective, the righty has an interesting outlook on his success. In those same 56.2 innings, Carver has put together a 3.73 FIP with an opposing average of .167 and a strikeout minus walk rate of 21.4%. All of these are good, he’s limited his career walk percentage as a starter, and rarely gives up good contact when he pitches. Carvers unwillingness to give up good contact is reflected in his batted ball numbers. He generates a lot of fly balls at over 50% of the time and half of those are infield fly balls. That’s good for third highest among the selected pitchers with fly ball percentages over 40%. Given that his pull percentages and opposite percentages are on the same level, Carver truly is a prospect.
Trade Idea: I don’t have one or at least a good one. The only way this would work is to eat salary and continue to build prospects. The Tigers are in the same position as the Pistons right now: minimizing salary while building a youth movement. I don’t think Manning has too much value. But given that a lot of the talent in Arizona is in AAA or early majors, they may be one year ahead of the Tigers. That would allow for some salary dumping.
Arizona gets: Matt Manning, Jeimer Candelario
Detroit Gets: Madison Bumgardner, Nick Ahmed, Josh Rojas, Alek Thomas, Blake Walston and Ross Carver.
Conor Dryer, RHP, TBR, 23, A+
The Tampa Bay Rays just cannot keep getting away with this. Dryer is a 6’03", 205 lb right-handed pitcher out of Central Missouri. Going into his draft season, the right-hander started 17 games, pitching 71 innings. He struck out 78 batters and only walked 16. For three straight years the pitcher held an Academic Honor Roll for his work in the classroom.
On the mound, Dryer came into the draft throwing a mid to upper 90s fastball, with good carry into the zone. He’s carried his junior year success into the minors, posting two back-to-back seasons of below 3.00 earned runs, greater than 24% strikeout rate, and below 8% walk rates. He pitches mostly in relief, but the outings last a while, racking up multiple appearance over 2 innings.
There are a few underlying data points I want to address. First, in terms of batted balls, all of his marks are good. He generates more ground balls than fly balls, and 30% of his fly balls are in the infield. That’s good, showing weak contact. Second, he’s efficient. Of the pitchers that are identified, Dryer is in the top ten in pitches per batter faced at just over 3.6. With his rate of efficiency, strikeout to walk numbers, and soft contact numbers, I would not be surprised to see the flamethrower continue to develop in AA this season!
Crazy Side Note: Dryer threw 2 balls in 2021 in 9 innings.
Trade Idea: Tampa is middle of the pack in offense and defense, and bottom five in relievers WAR. They could really use a player like Michael Fulmer. I would recommend a package of Ronny Simon and Blake Hunt. Hunt is a good defensive catcher with size and power potential. He is having a down year but is the teams 22nd ranked prospect. You can read more about Simon in Part 1.
Thank you as always for reading!