Blue Jays: Five lesser known prospects to keep an eye on in 2023

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Irv Carter, RHP

Irv Carter, a fifth-round pick by the Jays in the 2021 draft, split time between the FCL and Low-A as a 19-year-old in 2022.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander, listed by MLB Pipeline as the No. 23 prospect in the Jays system, boasts a three-pitch repertoire of fastball, slider and changeup, all of which are projected to be average or above-average pitches. According to a scouting report, his fastball touches 96 mph, and while his mid-80s slider could end up being his out pitch, he'll be focusing on his changeup moving forward.

In the FCL last season Carter made nine appearances with six starts and 33.2 innings. He boasted a fantastic 11.23 K/9 and 2.94 BB/9 but pitched to a 5.88 ERA. He was a little unlucky, however, with a .341 BABIP and an xFIP of 3.44 but an actual FIP of 5.49. Regardless, he figured out how to get strikeouts with his stuff.

Carter didn't rack up as many punchouts after getting promoted to Low-A. He sported a 7.07 K/9, but after a rough debut, he ran with an impressive 2.45 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and dropped his BB/9 down to 1.64 over his final three starts of the season.

MLB Pipeline likens him to Marcus Stroman and Johnny Cueto in that he employs hesitations and wrinkles in his delivery to throw off hitters' timing. The scouting report also refers to Carter as "one of the higher-upside arms in the system long-term" and projects his ETA as 2025.

You can see in this video from Rob Friedman (aka Pitching Ninja) how Carter's big, athletic frame translated to dominant stuff on the mound back in early 2022. I'm excited to watch this young pitcher's development, with his physical gifts and potential for a legit swing-and-miss arsenal.