Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Carl tops Short-Season relievers

Royals relief prospect yields just six runs in Pioneer League
October 25, 2011
Edwin Carl's numbers look like something out of a video game but are real enough to have brought some serious attention to the hurler.

Signed by the Royals as an undrafted free agent in July 2010, Carl's first full season of professional baseball can only be described as an unqualified success. The University of New Mexico product was 3-1 with a 1.36 ERA in 21 games for Idaho Falls.

Logan Billbrough, Johnson City

St. Louis right-hander Logan Billbrough, struck out 38, saved five, owned a 1.72 ERA and went undefeated in 23 outings for Johnson City. The Miami native added three wins, did not allow a home run and only issued six walks the whole year, his first in the Minors. Fan voting results »
It's when you dig deeper into those numbers that you realize what a remarkable season the 23-year-old right-hander had. Carl allowed as many earned runs -- five -- as he had saves. He held Pioneer League batters to a .145 batting average and yielded only three walks. None of the 117 batters to face Carl managed to hit one over the fence.

"I just kind of tried to pitch my game every day and tried to go out there with a positive mindset," Carl said. "It was just an awesome year basically."

Despite pitching 33 innings, Carl ranked 10th in the league with 71 strikeouts. The pitchers ranked above him all tossed a minimum of 18 1/3 more innings than he did, and he was the only reliever to breach the top 10. In six of Carl's 21 appearances he managed to record every out via a strikeout.

Carl credited being able to adapt to hitters and mix his pitches for the high strikeout totals.

"The first half, I would say the curveball, it's usually 12-to-6 and a lot of guys swing and miss at it in the dirt," said Carl, who also throws a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball and a changeup.

"In the second half, scouting reports got around and it seemed they were sitting on the curveball, so I could get away with a fastball in a location I wanted."

It began to dawn on Carl that he was having a pretty special year in August, after he was named the Royals Minor League Pitcher of the Month for July, a month in which he allowed just one earned run in 13 2/3 innings.

"I looked at the numbers and I realized things were going good," Carl said. "After that, I tried to do the same thing and do as best I could every outing."

Carl's season got off to a hot start, as he did not allow a run in his first eight appearances for the Chukars. The first run scored against him came July 18, when he gave up two runs -- one earned -- in two innings in a 9-8 loss to Missoula. That outing represented a third of the runs he'd allow all year.

"It toughens you up," Carl said of his early success. "It's something good to go off of and something to help you keep the intensity up the rest of the season."

The year comes as something of a surprise for a player who posted a 7.02 ERA in 16 2/3 innings for the Chukars in 2010. Carl believes that the time off before signing with the Royals worked against him.

"Last year, I signed after school ball ended," the postseason All-Star said. "I was on vacation for a month, and I wasn't too involved in the weight room. I really got into shape this offseason, and it really helped me this season."

Carl had some trouble trying to describe his season.

"I guess I would have to go with 'awesome,'" he reflected. "The numbers are better than I expected, and it was just an awesome year basically."

Topping what Carl accomplished in 2012 will be tough, but he's game to give it a go.

"I guess have the same numbers in more innings would be the key," he said. "Start where I left off this year and see how far I can get it next year."

Robert Emrich is a contributor to