The Cubs have called up a lot of minor leaguers during this season, but only one thus far is considered a top 10 prospect -- DJ LeMahieu.
Make that two.
The Cubs just called up fireballing reliever Chris Carpenter and sent Casey Coleman back down to AAA. Carpenter was once considered a possible first round pick for the 2008 draft but slipped all the way down to 3rd round because of arm injury concerns.
Since then the Cubs have treated him with kid gloves and have avoided any major setbacks. Like most prospects, the Cubs put him in the rotation early on to give him steady innings and the opportunity to develop as a starter. But it's the bullpen where Carpenter hopes to craft a major league living.
The Cubs moved Carpenter to the bullpen permanently late last season during the Arizona Fall League. While he had a solid season that year as a starter, it was in the fall leauge where he began to turn heads with a fastball clocked at 100 mph. He also has a sharp slider which gives him two plus power pitches. His problem, like many young hard throwers, is his command.
He has shown flashes of dominance this year, especially early on in AAA before tailing off a bit and getting sent back down to AA. He has started to show some better command recently, walking 4 batters in 12+ innings, but it came at the expense of strikeouts. After striking out over a batter per inning in AAA, his strikeout numbers have been cut nearly in half in his AA stint.
The stuff is there though, and we know he's capable of missing bats when he needs to -- a vital quality in a late inning reliever. For Cub fans eager for a glimpse of young talent, this may be our first real chance to see it. LeMahieu isn't quite ready and has played sparingly, but Carpenter has a chance to make an impact and stick for the rest of the season if he pitches well.