Ready to take a leap of faith? Come on in and meet Carson Ragsdale.
- Born: May 25, 1998
- B/T: Right/Right
- 6’8″, 225-lbs
- Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2020 MLB June Amateur Draft from University of South Florida
His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:
He was drafted in June of 2020, having missed all of 2019 from Tommy John surgery recovery time. So his pro debut comes the following spring after being drafted, and he spent all of 2021 at A-ball. Threw 114 innings too, with great strikeout rates, but the typical shaky control of the post-TJS pitcher. Still, it was encouraging.
In 2022 he had thoracic outlet syndrome, so he only gets 6 IP during July as he rehabs with the Arizona Complex League Giants. Walks continue to be a problem, as one would expect, but he strikes out even more — albeit younger — batters.
Now in 2023 he is healthy again, he moves to High-A, and now it all comes together. He’s far enough removed from TJS for his control to improve, and that it has. It’s another year, so it’s time for his strikeout rate to go up again.
I want you to notice that each time he takes the field in a new year, the WHIP drops, the xFIP drops, and the strikeouts rise.
It’s only been a month, so that’s his split, right there above.
Handedness K% and BB%
A+ (vs RH): 44%K and 2%BB. (vs LH): 33%K and 8%BB.
Small sample size, of course, but he is lethal against righties, while just being dominant against lefties. Again, small samples here.
Tommy John surgery, thoracic outlet syndrome, I mean, the kid has been through it all. On the other hand, he already had those things, but yeah, that’s a red flag.
He’s almost 25 years old and hasn’t reached Double-A yet. Granted, it was the injuries that did it, but it also means he is beating up low level batters. We need to withhold full judgment until we see him do the same agains Double-A guys.
The scouts sniff and say either “who?” or “eh, reliever prospect.” I don’t blame them. Why pay attention to an almost 25-year-old in A ball?
But when you look for a breakout, this is what you look for: control improves, health is there, it won’t be long before Ragsdale is in Double-A, and then everyone will say “Huh, where did this guy come from?”
Sometimes you take a leap of faith that a guy who stands 6’8″ and looks every bit of it (look at that video above), and dominates batters the way Ragsdale does, will continue to be successful as he climbs the levels. Sure, maybe not 40% K% good, but 30% would be fine in Double-A, wouldn’t it?
He has a mid-90s FB that comes over the top of his mountainous height. His curveball is a thing of beauty. And he has a cutter that is behind his other pitches, but exists.
The key for him, the scouts said, was to improve his command (check) and to solidify that third pitch (working on it).
Injuries may derail him, or push him to the pen. Or maybe this is the breakout of the next Giants pitching prospect.