#16 INF Luis Carpio
Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 165 B/T: R/R Age: 7/11/1997 (19) Age Dif: -1.5 w/ GCL, -3.1 w/ Brooklyn
2016 Level: Rookie GCL Mets, Short-Season A Brooklyn Cyclones
Acquired: Signed by the New York Mets as a non-drafted free agent on July 11, 2013
Last Year: #8
2016 Statistics: 20 G, 74 AB, 7 R, 15 H, 3 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 9 BB, 21 K, .203/.314/.270
Don’t let the numbers fool you, Luis Carpio wasn’t even expected to play in 2016. Carpio underwent surgery to repair a labrum tear in his right shoulder last March, which Marc Carig of Newsday confirmed and stated he’d likely miss the entire 2016 season.
According to MMO/MMN’s Jacob Resnick, Carpio had reportedly complained about the injury playing last winter, which eventually led to the surgery. The healing process progressed faster than expected for the teenage prospect, as he made his return to the diamond on August 10 as the designated hitter for the GCL Mets, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk in his return. After eight games with the GCL Mets, Carpio was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones, where he’d finish out the year going 6-for-43 with two doubles, eight walks, and four runs scored. He remained at DH in all 12 games with the Cyclones.
Rewind back to July 2013, when the New York Mets signed the then 16-year-old Venezuelan shortstop for $300,000, listed as the No. 30 international prospect. Carpio was one of four substantial international signings the Mets made that summer, along with C Ali Sanchez, SS Yeffry de Aza, and RHP Luis Silva.
Scouts were intrigued with his athleticism, speed, work ethic, and smooth line-drive swing from the right side of the plate. Carpio made his professional debut in 2014 with the Dominican Summer League, where he was 2.3 years younger than most of the competition. In 60 games, Carpio slashed .234/.347/.301, drawing as many walks (33) as strikeouts, and stole 12 out of 16 bases.
Offensively in 2015, Carpio improved his entire slash line while playing 45 games with the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League, to the tune of a .304 batting average (11th best in league), .372 OBP (12th best), and .359 slugging. He registered a .345 wOBA along with a 109 wRC+, both improvements from his ’14 campaign of .334 wOBA and 98 wRC+. Although his BB% dropped 5% from 2014 (13.2% to 8.2%), he was aggressive at the plate and still registered a career high .372 OBP, in part due to a high BABIP (.364).
Nonetheless, Carpio demonstrated a ton of tools in 2015, and did so at almost four years younger than the average competition (-3.6 years). His reverse splits were also solid in ’15, posting a .733 OPS against right-handed pitching and a .723 OPS against lefties, a major improvement over his .685 OPS against righies and .510 OPS against lefties in ’14. Carpio was named the 7th best prospect in the Appalachian League by Baseball America following the conclusion of the 2015 season.
He split his time playing shortstop and second base in 2014 and ’15, showcasing his polished range and lateral movements, good initial first step, and handling the double-play ball well, including the feeds and turns. Most scouts grade Carpio’s arm at about average, however, after going through the right shoulder surgery last March, Carpio might be best suited at second, not only for the shorter distance on throws but also due to the Mets being loaded at the shortstop position in the minors including top prospect Amed Rosario.
Speaking of Rosario, comparing his time in Kingsport in ’13 as a 17-year-old to Carpio’s ’15 campaign at the same age, Carpio led Rosario in the following categories: batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, runs, stolen bases, doubles, and walks. And Carpio posted these numbers in 13 less games than Rosario played in (58 to 45 games played).
Carpio should open the 2017 season with Class A Columbia Fireflies, where he’ll experience a full season of minor league ball. He’ll open the season as a 19-year-old, not turning 20 until July. The hope is to see Carpio continue to impress with his mature approach at the plate, while filling out his frame a bit more, with the hope of reaching double-digit power as Baseball Prospectus had projected when they named him the Mets No. 3 prospect prior to the 2016 season.
He could shift to second base full-time in ’17, which will place a greater emphasis on his offense to make up for the position change. If he can use his ’15 season with Kingsport as a springboard, Carpio should continue to progress and impress at his young age, while also playing with older competition.
2017 MMN TOP 100 PROSPECTS