Make no mistake, Carlos Carrasco is anything but an afterthought with the Mets

Bradford William Davis, New York Daily News on

Published in Baseball

Carlos Carrasco has long been the second man, both as a No. 2 starter on Cleveland’s superb rotations over the last decade, and the No. 2 name in the Francisco Lindor blockbuster that sent the pair to New York and makes the Mets an instant contender.

But the Mets’ newest pitcher should be anything but an afterthought.

When Carrasco, 33, was asked what he would add to his new team on Tuesday, the veteran hurler brought up three reasons to believe in him: “(The Mets) get a really good guy, a really good pitcher and, at the same time, I just get in there and compete.”

This sounds far more prideful in print than in person — or at least, over Zoom — so let’s start here: Objectively, Carrasco is really, really good.

Carlos Carrasco held a virtual press conference Tuesday and got some love from the Mets on the Citi Field scoreboard (Courtesy of the Mets).

Carlos Carrasco held a virtual press conference Tuesday and got some love from the Mets on the Citi Field scoreboard (Courtesy of the Mets).

Since 2015, when Carrasco secured a full-time spot in Cleveland’s pitching staff, he’s been one of Major League Baseball’s best hurlers by multiple metrics, ranking in or around the top 10 in strikeouts (12th), strikeout to walk ratio (9th), and Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement formula (10th.) Per Fangraphs, he has a 78 ERA-, meaning he’s been 22% better than the league at limiting runs once accounting for his home ballpark, and compares nicely with flashier names like Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (75 ERA-), and the Padres’ recent blockbuster acquisitions in Blake Snell (76) and Yu Darvish (82). Carrasco’s only crime, the reason he hasn’t made multiple All-Star teams, has been slotting behind two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber in Cleveland. He’ll run into the same “problem” taking the ball behind Jacob deGrom in Flushing.

Carrasco’s relatively undecorated career comes with one award that stands above all for reasons beyond the game: the 2019 Roberto Clemente Award. Winning the prestigious honor was a rightful result of Carrasco’s community service work — along with his wife Karry — that involves everything from sizable financial donations to his home country in Venezuela, packing and distributing hundreds of lunches for the homeless in his offseason Tampa home and reading books to children in Cleveland.


“The same way we did in Cleveland, I would love to do in New York,” said Carrasco, in between praising his wife and daughter’s commitment to continuing their service work. “I can’t wait to get there with my family (to) start giving back to the community” who said he’s excited to use his off days as a Met to build a positive relationship with his new city.

Along with his consistency on the mound, and character off it, you have to be impressed by his competitive fire. This shows up in the boxscore, of course, but also simply in the fact that he’s still pitching at an elite level after being diagnosed with leukemia in June 2019. Cancer, and who survives it, does not discriminate between our heroes and villains, but Carrasco has used his journey back to the big leagues to inspire sick children with his story.

“When I go to the hospital and trying to talk to some family, teenager, kids... I always say, Just be strong, (and) never let yourself down.”

Carrasco, who led the American League in wins in 2017 with 18, was named AL Comeback Player of the Year in 2019 after returning to the team (pitching out of the bullpen in September).

He pitched to a 2.91 ERA in Cleveland in 2020 during the pandemic-shortened season.

Carrasco’s excellence has long been hidden in plain sight, but like the man himself, it’s there every fifth day plus the moments in between. If you know where to look, you’ll see more than enough receipts to back him up.

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