Another top prospect to look out for, Carpio burst out as a 17 year old in Rookie-League Kingsport, and was poised to make the jump to Full-Season Ball last season but fell to shoulder surgery. When healthy, Carpio is possibly one of the best middle infield prospects in the system, and is definitely one to watch at 19 years old.
(Photo Credit: MLB.com)
2B/SS Luis Carpio
R/R, 6’0″ 165 lbs, 7/11/1997 (19), Signed on 7/11/13 for $300,000 out of Caracas, Venezuela
One of the youngest players in the 2013 IFA Signing Periods other than the Mets’ own Ricardo Cespedes, Carpio couldn’t sign until he turned 16 on July 2nd, and gained a $300,000 bonus from the Mets for his overall package. Trained by Andres Mujica, Carpio showed promise with the bat, and great athleticism in the middle of the diamond coming out of Venezuela, and has put that a bit on display so far.
Carpio started his professional career in the Dominican Summer League with the DSL Mets 2 team, and got off to a rocky start hitting .234/,347/.301 in 60 games playing as a shortstop. Carpio hit 11 extra base hits leading to a .067 Isolated Slugging Percentage and stole 12 bases.
The next season the Mets felt after an excellent extended spring training (spring training for players in short season leagues) that Carpio would skip Gulf Coast League rookie ball and go straight to Rookie-League Kingsport. He had a breakthrough season, hitting .304/.372/.359 with 10 doubles and nine steals in 45 games. Carpio performed better than average and played a smooth shortstop and second base, sharing short duties with defensive ace Milton Ramos. The performance at 17 years old in advanced rookie Kingsport had Carpio ranked #7 of Baseball America’s top 20 prospects in the Appalachian League.
We were riding high, naming him a top prospect in the system for 2016, expecting him to go to the newly-minted Columbia Fireflies when tragedy struck: Carpio’s labrum in his shoulder had a tear, requiring surgery, causing him to miss likely the duration of the season. He was originally supposed to miss the entire season, but came back to play on August 10th, and played eight games in Complex Level Rookie Gulf Coast League for rehab before going up to Short Season-A Brooklyn to play for twelve games as a Designated Hitter. Carpio didn’t do well for Brooklyn, but show the aptitude to get on base with eight walks in those twelve games.
Despite physical Carpio has a nice ceiling as an offensive second baseman. A very young bat, Carpio has above-average bat speed, that allows him to catch up to good velocity, and the ability to make contact at a high rate. Carpio also has an idea of what to do at the plate and is pretty patient, especially for a teenager from Venezuela. Young Latin American players usually tend to be less patient and draw less walks than American players, so Carpio being able to draw a walk is very intriguing. While he has a nice bat, Carpio doesn’t project for much more than below-average power. Carpio’s power so far hasn’t really been existent, but he will hit his fair share of doubles, and possibly projects to hit up to ten homers at peak in a full season.
Defensively, due to the torn labrum, it’s hard to justify him staying at shortstop. He already had average arm strength to begin with, so with surgery, that may be a tick below. Carpio also has average speed and average range. His actions and footwork though are very good, and he is a very steady defender at both Short and Second Base. He profiles by now to stick at second base over short, and his arm and range are just fine there.
The question is, where will he start? The Mets have him early in camp and he was slated to go to Columbia last year. He still may go to Columbia this year, but will have a hard time with 2016 fourth and fifth round picks Michael Paez and Colby Woodmansee projected to man second base and short. The South Atlantic League does have a designated hitter though, and the three could possibly cycle through those three positions. We’ll see how the roster issue shakes out, which usually solves itself by the time spring training breaks. We’ll see by the starting lineup on April 6th, 2017 what the deal is.
To see more for Columbia Profiles, please go to Prospect Profiles and Columbia Fireflies in the top or side bars. We have also added a bar on the top to separate the prospects by position.
Follow us on Twitter at @MetsTProspects and like our Facebook Page!