Figures 1 and 2: The Movement and Velocity of Carson's pitches. The Graph is shown from a catcher's point of view. To Read:
Vertical Movement: the amount of inches the ball drops or "rises" as compared to how we would expect gravity to make a pitch drop. So a Fastball with Positive 10 Vertical Movement "RISES" 10 inches more than it should if gravity was the only force acting on it and a curveball with -10 Vertical Movement drops 10 inches more than a pitch thrown that is just acted on by gravity.
Horizontal Movement: The Graph is from the view of a catcher or umpire behind home plate. So a pitch on the left side of the graph (and has "negative horizontal movement") moves in to righties and away from lefties. A pitch on the right side of the graph moves in to lefites and away from righties.
Legend for these graphsFastballs = Red DotsChange Ups = Yellow DotsCutters/Sliders = Dark Blue Dots
|Pitch Type||Average Velocity (MPH)||Average Horiz. Movement*||Average Vertical Movement|
*A LARGE NOTE OF CAUTION: The Pitchf/x camera at Peoria (at least on Tuesday) seemed to have a calibration issue in that the Horizontal Movement of pitches tended to be a good 3-5 inches skewed toward the side of a right-handed batter. In other words, to get the true Horizontal Movement #s, you should add +3 to +5 to each number and on the graph you should shift every pitch over to the right 3-5 inches. DO NOT TAKE THIS DATA AS SAYING THAT CARSON'S CHANGE-UP and FASTBALL HAVE CUTTING MOVEMENT.
Anyhow, putting the calibration issue aside, we can see that Carson threw 3 pitches on Tuesday: A Four-Seam fastball, a change-up, and a pitch that's either a slider or a cutter (These two types of pitches look extremely similar at times and are hard to distinguish without knowing about the pitcher beforehand). (TH: Carson and his coaches call the offering a slider, unless he's working on something new here.)
The movement of the fastball is not particularly notable…once we take into account the calibration error, the pitch has average movement for a four-seam fastball and about average velocity (92MPH). The pitch doesn't get basically any sink at all, and I'd expect it to be a fly ball pitch unless Carson has unusual skill in keeping this pitch down (which certainly wasn't the case in this start).
The Change-up's movement is also not particularly special…in fact, it's not particularly great at all. Basically the pitch moves the same as the fastball, with minor differences. The pitch's velocity, at 86.6 MPH, is not bad for this type of pitch and is an okay 5 MPH different from the fastball. That said, like the fastball, if Carson can't locate this pitch particularly well (low and away?), it really isn't a great pitch.
The Cutter/Slider on the other hand shows some promise. At 87.4MPH, it would be considered fast for a slider and roughly par for the course for a cutter. This pitch, unlike the other two pitches, has some sink (above average for a cutter, average or below average for a slider) and Carson located it low and in on right-handed batters in this game. In this game, it clearly showed its promise as Carson got 3 swinging strikes on 13 total sliders/cutters thrown (and 3/10 if you ignore the 3 sliders thrown to left-handed batters). Of Note: The pitch isn't thrown with anywhere near the accuracy one would expect from a cutter (23.1% Strike Zone Rate), but instead seems to be thrown like a slider in terms of accuracy…thus it's not a pitch he should be throwing on 3 ball counts very much.
On a final note, you'll note from the graph above that Carson's pitches were all spread out horizontally on the graph and didn't form tight clusters. This doesn't seem like a calibration error, and more like something caused by Carson's own inconsistency. One would expect him to have to improve his pitches so that their movement is more consistent in order for him to improve his accuracy with these pitches.
Overall, I'm really not that impressed with Carson at this present moment. He has at best an average fastball and change-up, while his only pitch that shows any promise is his cutter/slider. Meanwhile with just these 3 pitches in his arsenal (and only one potential plus pitch), I wonder if he should be a reliever rather than a starter.
Of course, this conclusion is drawn from a ridiculously small sample size (58 pitches), so it should be taken with a grain of salt. Plus, Carson's only 21, so there's time to develop. But from this start, there really wasn't much to be impressed with (aside from the slider).
TH: 92 mph from the left side is a little above average, but not much. Given his persistent L/R splits, and the fact that his slider is his best pitch, a bullpen role seems like a more reasonable set of expectations for his eventual role moving forward.