ADAM CARR: LIKE MONEY IN YOUR SOFA CUSHIONS
[December 9th] -- When the name "Adam Carr" was announced as the Nationals 18th round selection in the 2006 amateur draft, it was met with all the indifference that being the 541st pick of the draft commands. From 1990 - 2000, only 35 of 332 18th round picks (10.5%) ever made it to the major leagues, and only 20% of them had any kind of career (Mike Cameron, Bobby Higginson, Kirk Reuter, Kevin Brown, John Rocker, Adam La Roche and Lyle Overbay).
18th round picks, then, are players with "special circumstances," guys who have either been injured during most of their careers, or started playing the game late in life. Some have no chance to make it to the major leagues, and are used as fillers throughout minor league rosters.
Then there are players like Adam Carr.
Carr, a 6'1", 190 pounder played one season at Oklahoma State after transferring from West Valley Junior College, near his home in Felton, California. Some players go to junior college for a couple of years because their game isn't polished enough to play at the Division I level. That wasn't the case with Adam Carr. Though his grades were good, his low ACT scores kept him out of most universities.
Adam Carr is dyslexic and has ADD. No matter how hard he tried, no matter how many hours he prepared for those entrance tests, he simply couldn't do well enough to get into the big schools. After many appeals to the NCAA, he was finally granted "partial eligibility," which allowed him to transfer to Oklahoma State. His time at West Valley was well spent, however, as he was named an J.C. "All American" his freshman year.
Carr was one of the top high school prospects in California before his learning disability became common knowledge. Cal State Fullerton was a regular visitor at the Carr family home until, as his mother puts it, "They dropped him like a hot potato." Even though he led the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League in hitting, and was near the top in power production, the Division I schools stopped calling, leaving junior college as his only viable option.
At West Valley, he pitched and played first base. In a game against Merced, his fastball was clocked at 96 mph. Carr led nearly all California junior college players in virtually every offensive category. He was named the San Francisco Bay-area "College Baseball Player Of The Year." In 41 games, he batted .444 with 13 home runs, a .500 OBP and a .850 slugging percent. He was seen at a junior college showcase by Oklahoma State, and Carr quickly signed with the Cowboys. Oklahoma State, however, wanted him primarily as a first baseman. Said one OSU coach, "As great a pitcher as the kid is, he's even a better hitter."
Carr had a tremendous first year in Stillwater. He led the nation in home runs for most of the year before ending the season with 22. He drove in 86 runs and batted .336 and garnered an amazing 1.079 OPS. Though Carr was pleased with his offensive production, he was disappointed that he pitched so infrequently. He got into just four games, going 0-1, 5.79.
I am stunned that one of the nation's top hitting prospects lasted until the 18th round, and even then was drafted as a pitcher. I can only surmise that scouts from other organizations thought his difficulties getting into college represented not a learning disability, but a mental illness. Whatever the reason, the Nationals are fortunate to have him.
Splitting time between the Nationals entry in the Gulf Coast League and class 'A' Savannah, Carr had a record of 1-0, 2.86 in 25 innings. He allowed 11.2 baserunners per 9 innings (a very good number), and struck out almost 10 batters per 9 innings. Offensively, Carr batted .250, going 7-28 with a home run.
Carr's raw talent impressed the organization enough that he was invited to participate in the Hawaiian Development League this past year. Playing for the Waikiki BeachBoys, Carr went 1-0, 1.64 in 11 relief appearances. His fastball was topping out at 97 mph and his slider at 87. When he got back home, the news got even better. He was to go to spring training with the big club and be given every opportunity to earn a spot on the Nationals' roster.
It seems that Carr is destined to be a relief pitcher -- he's yet to start a game as a professional. But no matter what he does for the Nationals - a pitcher, a hitter - it's going to be "found money."
An 18th rounder making good. Gee, now that would be a sign that good things are happening, wouldn't it?
Anyway, for what it's worth.