What is the first thing you think of when someone mentions Minnesota? Winter, lakes, winter, hockey, gophers, winter. Not baseball, surely. No ball player alone can change the reputation of his home state, but one prep pitcher can try. Mid-90s natural sink makes Sam Carlson 2017 MLB Draft ready.
Sam Carlson 2017 MLB Draft Profile
Hailing from the city south of the river is a 6’4″ and 195-pound right-hander who shows a great feel for what he does. Fill the strike zone. Sam Carlson of Burnsville, Minnesota, has been on scouting radars for a while. Most recently, he’s launched himself into the upper half of probable first round picks as spring has turned to summer. MLB.com currently has him at 15 on the Top-100 draft prospects.
Minnesota has never had a pitcher tabbed in the first round, and Carlson could be the first. Especially so when he showed up this spring bringing a consistent mid-90s fastball he hadn’t had before. His talents are growing into his frame more so than they had. He was pegged recently as the Gatorade Minnesota Baseball Player of the Year after posting a .41 ERA along with a .532 batting average so far this year.
Oh, yea. He can hit too. Rosemount High School head coach Chris Swansson said of Carlson, “Not only is Carlson a great pitcher, but I’ve been very impressed with his batting as well. He’s a hard worker and a good kid, and he’s been impressive every time we’ve faced him.”
So, what makes Carlson so attractive to pro teams?
His recent growth is no doubt a big reason why he’s taken a big step forward. Carlson has worked putting on 15 pounds and an inch to his advantage. Said growth pushed his fastball into plus status. His fastball improvement has also aided in his changeup effectiveness.
#MNTwins among teams to get another look at Burnsville’s Sam Carlson last night. Had 12 Ks, CG shutout. Stuff was better than time before.
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) June 3, 2017
Carlson’s changeup flashes plus on its own. He trusts it, and he knows how to and when to use it. Having just that much more difference between the two plus pitches is fooling hitters left and right. There’s still some room for a step or two forward in physical growth as well.
He shows the ability for three above average to plus pitches in his fastball, slider and change. He controls his pitches well at present, leading to reports of a potential above average command when he begins to spend time with major league coaching.
This category is largely dry. He throws well already, and his cold-weather status leaves him with less wear and tear on his arm than pitchers who can throw all out for 365 days a year.
The inherent risk of injury as a pitcher and ‘failing out’ in the minor leagues are his only real weaknesses. His mechanics are orthodox and clean. He has a frame to support 30 starts of mid-90s velocity.
Sam Carlson will be a harder throwing Alex Cobb of the Tampa Bay Rays. A three-pitch pitcher with good command and movement.