Mickey Callaway: Carlos Carrasco can be No. 1 caliber starter for Mets

2 weeks ago
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Carlos Carrasco’s reputation as a quality person and teammate will only get him so far if he doesn’t produce for the Mets.

But a former pitching coach of Carrasco’s with New York experience expects the right-hander to thrive with his new team.

“He’s going to do very well there,” former Mets manager Mickey Callaway told The Post on Monday. “This guy can pitch, and it’s three-plus pitches. His changeup is devastating — it’s one of the best changeups I have ever seen. He and King Felix [Hernandez], their pitch shape on that and the way it spins, it’s almost identical.”

The 33-year-old Carrasco will be introduced Tuesday on a Zoom call, following the trade last week with Cleveland that sent the right-hander to the Mets along with Francisco Lindor.

Callaway, now the Angels pitching coach, had Carrasco as a pupil from 2013-17 with Cleveland. For most of that stretch, Carrasco was among the American League’s top pitchers, going 51-33 with a 3.24 ERA over their final four seasons together. Callaway recalled a mechanical adjustment Carrasco implemented that helped transform him.

“We talked about his lead arm getting up to provide some deception because when we looked at it he had this 96-mph fastball that was getting hit pretty hard and we were like, ‘Why is it getting hit so hard?’ ” Callaway said. “It was just a lack of deception. He had a real low lead arm and he was showing the ball really early to the hitter and we worked on it.”

Just so Carrasco wouldn’t forget the lesson, he had the message — “Get the lead arm up” — stitched into his glove in Spanish, according to Callaway.

Carrasco pitched behind former Stetson University standout Corey Kluber during much of his tenure with the Indians. With the Mets, he will slot somewhere behind another noted Stetson son in Jacob deGrom.

“[Carrasco] was a No. 2 in Cleveland only because Corey Kluber was there, but he is a No. 1 for most teams,” Callaway said. “And just an unbelievable teammate, worker and family guy.”

For Lindor, the star shortstop who was the centerpiece of the deal, there will be comfort in joining a new team with an old friend.

“To go from a place I know everything about to a place I know very little, with somebody I care about, it makes life a lot easier, knowing that I have somebody right there that we share in the same feelings and going through experiences for the first time together,” Lindor said. “That is going to mean a lot and I can’t wait to be with him and win.”

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Baseball | New York Post

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