Why He’s Interesting: With a mid-90 mph fastball, a mean slider and change-up, the right-hander enjoyed his best season in the majors, going 18-6 with a 3.29 ERA and 226 strikeouts. But his dugout artistry as the co-creator of the mini baseball likenesses of his teammates may be his masterwork.
Young Gun: As a native of Venezuela, Carrasco was encouraged to play baseball by his mother, a former softball player who served as his first catcher. At 16, he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, but the transition to the U.S. wasn’t easy. “It was a really sad story because I didn’t speak English. It was hard to communicate.”
Passing the Test: Carrasco almost gave up and went home during his first spring training. But the teenager stuck it out. In August 2016, he became a U.S. citizen after teammates helped him study about the Declaration of Independence, World War I and II and more. “It was a really good feeling.”
Bullpen Sessions: This past season he finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting behind teammate Corey Kluber, who won for the second time. Carrasco attributes much of his success to the rotation helping one another. “Every time those guys throw in the bullpen, I have questions about how you grip this pitch or throw that pitch.”
Mini Inspiration: Carrasco enjoys spending time with his five kids, especially drawing. They inspired him during a win against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Carrasco started peeling back the layers of a foul ball and recruited Trevor Bauer to help. It turned into the first mini ball, a poofy haired version of Jose Ramirez, complete with shades and necklace. “We made that ball and he started hitting like crazy.”
Details, Details: The duo made likenesses of 27 teammates using only items found in the dugout, from Gatorade caps to nail polish. “Bauer did the face, I did the rest. All the details like the hair, Kluber’s Cy Young, [Yan] Gomes’ mask.”
Solid Foundation: A three-time Roberto Clemente Award nominee for community service, Carrasco works daily with his foundation on education and health care efforts in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Cleveland, such as collecting 12,000 books for kids. “I find I have a huge heart.”Interesting Fact: Carrasco, nicknamed “Cookie” in 2011 by former teammate Chris Perez, counts oatmeal raisin as his favorite.