Position: 2B/SS B/T: R/R Age: 7/11/97 (21)
Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent from Venezuela (7/11/13)
Previous Rank: 40
2018 Stats (St. Lucie and Binghamton): 113 G, 441 PA, 393 AB, 39 R, 21 2B, 12 HR, 40 RBI, 9 SB/9 CS, .219/.290/.364, .241 BABIP
Carpio has been up and down many prospect lists around the blogging community over the last few years including our own. It was only three years ago that Carpio was widely considered a Top 10 prospect in the system including ranking No. 8 on here and as high as No.3 on Baseball Prospectus.
After a solid 2015 season in Kingsport as a 17-year-old playing against talent that was on average three years older than he was, Carpio suffered a torn right labrum that caused him to miss the majority of the 2016 season. Much like his fellow Venezuelan, Wuilmer Becerra, the labrum tear robbed Carpio of his high upside offensive potential.
What was originally a simple, short, but explosive swing that generated solid backspin on the ball had become a slow and slap style swing that generated very little power once he returned in 2017. His pedestrian .232 AVG/.610 OPS for the Columbia Fireflies and a SLG (.302) that was lower than his OBP (.308) was a major disappointment that brought into question whether he would ever be the same again.
His turnaround would begin that off-season though as Carpio signed up to work out at the Barwis Methods facility rather than returning to Venezuela to play winter ball for his home team the Leones del Caracas.
The hard work paid huge dividends as Carpio added almost 25 lbs of weight and muscle to his previously skinny frame. While his .219 batting average on a .241 BABIP left much to be desired, he did set new career highs for doubles (21), home runs (12), and isolated slugging (.147).
In addition to adding more strength, Carpio added more loft to his swing and began to hit the ball in the air more often. After sitting at around a 35-37% fly ball batted ball rate for most of his career, Carpio’s fly ball rate jumped up to 50.2% at the expense of his ground ball rate which fell by ~12%. While this shift certainly help attribute to his increased power, it could also explain why his BABIP fell almost 40 points from 2017 as fly-balls are converted into outs on a more frequent basis than ground-balls are.
Reminder that the Florida State League (where Carpio played 112 of his games for the St. Lucie Mets in 2018) is one of the toughest leagues for offense in the minors.
Defensively, Carpio is naturally a shortstop but has been bouncing back and forth between there and second base due to the fact that top prospect Andres Gimenez has been on the same team as him in both 2017 and 2018. Once Gimenez was promoted to (Double-A) Binghamton, Carpio shifted back to shortstop full-time and looked as solid as ever there. While his arm is not as strong as it was before the labrum tear, recent reports suggest that it recovered enough to be at least average at shortstop which should be sufficient due to his excellent athleticism and strong instincts.
Whether its at short or second, if Carpio can take his added strength and find a balance between his new loftier swing and his old line drive approach, Carpio could possibly develop into someone who could command some attention as a future MLB contributor at either middle infield position.