Riffin’ on Carrillo

In response to Tuesday’s item about right-hander Cesar Carrillo experiencing yet another setback in the Arizona Fall League, reader Christian offered this comment:

The Cesar Carrillo news is disappointing. I remember watching the guy throw in game in a college world series qualifier against Joba Chamberlain. He was sitting 92-94 with a ton of movement and good secondary stuff. Hearing he is throwing 85-86 well into his rehab speaks for itself.

Yeah, people forget just how good Carrillo was when the Padres drafted him. I was at Carrillo’s pro debut in July 2005, and my observations at the time jibe well with Christian’s:

Carrillo threw 20 pitches in the first inning, 11 in the second, and 9 in the third. He was around the plate and kept the ball low in the zone. According to the scoreboard radar, his fastball was generally 89-93 mph, peaking at 94. He also featured a curve that came in around 77-80 mph. A third pitch, which I had trouble identifying (possibly a two-seamer?) came in mid- to high-80s.

Carrillo had sick movement on his pitches, and the Kevin Brown comparisons seemed reasonable to me then. The only hitter who did anything against Carrillo in that game was Stephen Drew. Both of those guys looked like they were on rehab assignment — they were way too good for the Cal League.

When I saw him this past August, Carrillo had lost some of the zip on his pitches:

…Carrillo didn’t have much in the way of command, which is in stark contrast to the only other time I’ve seen him on the mound. Still, a bit of rust is to be expected after missing so much time. Personally I’m giving him a mulligan for the season in terms of performance. Like Clay Hensley, Carrillo gets credit just for being out there and throwing some innings. Next year, of course, is different; then he’ll need to produce.

I still hold out hope that Carrillo will have a career, but realistically it’s not looking good for him or the Padres. What I wouldn’t give to be wrong about that…

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11 Responses »

  1. I was so excited when the Pads took him. His college numbers were solid and he looked so good.

    I still hold out hope, but I am less optimistic than I used to be.

  2. Carrillo was a really good pick. Lots of shorter, slimmer RHP have had no injury issues, and his delivery was clean. The only thing the Padres did wrong was overwork him; he pitched 125 innings in college his junior year, and they piled on 55 more after he signed, even sending him back to Elsinore after promoting him from there to Mobile so he could throw a few more. He might have gotten hurt anyway, but there was no reason to rush things.

  3. To be giving up on Carrillo is tedious. I disagree 100% with this Riffin on Carrillo posting. First, Carrillo had Tommy John last May it has not even been 2 years! The average player with Tj surgery takes two full years to recover all mechanics and movement including velocity and delivery….. Last I checked Carrillo is NOT experiencing any setbacks in the Ariz. Fall League, but rather a routine sore muscle that is consistent with a mechanical readjustment of the muscles after they have not been used for that purpose in a while. Remember, it’s like a brand new ligament that is asking itself “what am I being asked to endure?”

    Carrillo has recovered 90% of his velocity and at times has been clocked at 95 mph. Considering it’s only been 1 yr and 1/2 since surgery I say the kid is on track! I expect him at Petco in 2009 filling the third spot….on the rotation!

  4. #3@Angel Friars: Thanks for posting. I hope you’re right because we sure could use the good version of Carrillo in 2009. :-)

  5. Carrillo’s time line on this has been extra long. First the diagnosis, then 10 months of sitting around hoping to get better, eventually the surgery and now the extended rehab. I would not expect him to get back to full strength until 2010, when he will be wearing a different uniform.

  6. #3@Angel Friars: I agree that it’s probably too early to give up on Carrillo but you have to admit that it’s not looking good.

    #2@Tom Waits: We’ve been through this before but I don’t see how you can say that Carrillo was “a really good pick.” It certainly seemed like it at the time but it most likely won’t turn out that way. However, college pitchers taken in the 1st Round that year weren’t really that good. Ricky Romero was taken 6th by the Blue Jays from Fullerton, Wade Townsend went 8th to the Rays, Lance Broadway 15th to the White Sox, Carrillo was the 18th pick, Brian Bogusevic the 24th to the Astros (they just converted him to an OF), Craig Hansen 26th to the Red Sox, Joey Devine 27th to the Braves, and Jacob Marceaux 29th to the Marlins. The only good college pitchers (so far) were Mike Pelfrey 9th to the Mets and Matt Garza 25th to the Twins and they ended up trading him for Delmon Young.

    Speaking of failed Padre draft picks, in Jim Callis’ Baseball America chat yesterday he answered the following question:

    Ryan, Ottawa: Matt Bush? Another sad story or will we just have to wait a while??

    SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:23 PM ET ) I think it’s safe to give up on Matt Bush.

  7. #6@Schlom: I’m long since done trying to explain such a simple concept as the difference between a decision and an outcome to you. You’ve demonstrated time and again that you’re incapable of recognizing the distinction.

    I can’t believe they’re going to waste a 40 man spot on Bush. There will be several Rule 5 picks with good velocity who have more than 10 pro innings. On the other hand, I don’t know who else they need to protect.

  8. #7@Tom Waits: Your comment kind of calls to mind Joakim Soria. Soria had many more innings in Mexico, but I thought the lesson of that debacle was you don’t leave relievers with awesome stuff exposed to the draft, even those with very few professional innings. Whether to protect Bush of course depends on how other teams regard him, the likelihood of him being selected, and the need to protect other players.

  9. #6@Schlom: The Matt Bush information is just one man’s opinion. Prior to needing Tommy John he was throwing 98 with a very good slider. Scouts (at Baseball America) said his stuff was good enough to conceivably put him in the big leagues this year. I would not give up on him contrary to what Jim Callis states. He is still just 22.

  10. #8@Ben B.: There’s a huge difference between Bush and Soria. Soria didn’t have many US pro innings, but he’d dominated the Mexican Leagues leading up to the draft, and he was 4 years past his TJ surgery. Bush has thrown 8 pro innings, all last year. There might be a team so desperate for him that they’d carry a pitcher who isn’t close to physically ready for an entire season, but unlike Soria, Bush hasn’t shown anything recently.

    The real key, as you say, is what other choices they make in order to keep Bush. They protected scrubs like Stansberry over Soria in 2006. If keeping Bush doesn’t expose a more valuable player, then no biggy. It seems like they have plenty of space on the 40 man now.

  11. Carrillo is the best we got in the farm!