Despite missing the 2022 season for East Carolina, Carson Whisenhunt has been able to put himself in the first-round conversation. He basically showed the same stuff in his two outings for Chatham as he did in 2021 for the Pirates. Knocking off the rust and pitching at the MLB Combine will go a long way to Whisenhunt getting taken in the top 20. Let’s take a look at what the big lefty brings to the mound.
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Carson Whisenhunt, Pitcher, East Carolina
Weight: 210 lbs.
2021 Stats: 13 G, 62 IP, 6-2, 3.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP 22 BB, 79 K
Whisenhunt was suspended for the season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. In the long run, it may have been a blessing in disguise as he has avoided injury this season and still gets to showcase his stuff in the Cape Cod League. While his first outing wasn’t great, Whisenhunt has settled in a bit striking out 12 of the 29 batters he has faced.
Whisenhunt has a devastating changeup that he drops in the low 80s with great fade. It is a true neutralizer against right-handed hitters. He also tunnels it well with his fastball which comes in 92-95 with decent downhill action. Whisenhunt hasn’t used his curveball much but shows good feel for it. He can drop it in in the mid-70s and it has the potential to be a solid third offering.
He needs some refinement especially being away from the field for a good chunk of the year. However, his dedication to his craft and athleticism were never in question. His delivery is smooth and there isn’t much effort. Some believe his velocity could tick up a notch with continued throwing. The basis is there for Whisenhunt to become a front-line starter.
Velocity and lack of an above-average third pitch are the only things holding Whisenhunt back right now. The heat on his fastball isn’t as much of a concern as his need for a third offering. A fastball changeup combo is wonderful, but without being able to drop in the occasional curveball for a strike, Whisenhunt stands the risk of becoming a back end guy or a reliever.
Pro Comparison: Jordan Wicks
It seems many people are comparing Whisenhunt to the 21st p ick in last year’s draft. It is a natural comparison. Their size, athleticism, and repertoire are nearly identical. Wicks has had a solid year at High-A South Bend for the Cubs organization. His 4.53 ERA is a little deceiving as his BABIP is .390. Despite a little bad luck, Wicks has an excellent 65/14 K/BB rate and has only allowed five homers in 51.2 innings.
Draft Prediction: New York Mets, Round 1, Pick 14
After taking Gabriel Hughes at 11, the Mets double down on pitching to give them a future lefty-righty combo at the top of their rotation. Aside from Matt Allan who has yet to return from Tommy John Surgery, New York has a bunch of bodies on the mound in the minors. However, none of them stand out yet and a few of them are still teenagers. With Hughes and Whisenhunt, the Mets have a couple of arms who could take over in two-three years when Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer hang them up.
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