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Prospect in the Theo Epstein Trade: Chris Carpenter

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Prospect in the Theo Epstein Trade: Chris Carpenter

The Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox finally came to agreement today, and the Cubs will send right-handed pitching prospect Chris Carpenter (obviously not the same one who pitches for the St. Louis Cardinals) to the Red Sox to compensate for the hiring of Theo Epstein. Who is Chris Carpenter II, Electric Boogaloo?

Chris Carpenter, RHP: Chris Carpenter the prospect is a 6-4, 215 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born December 26, 1985. The Cubs drafted him in the third round in 2008 out of Kent State University, where he excited scouts with his arm strength but also worried them with his health. He had two elbow surgeries (including Tommy John) in college, but in pro ball he's been durable, if erratic.

After spending most of his career as a starter, he moved to the bullpen in Triple-A last year and got hammered, posting a 6.53 ERA in 30 innings for Iowa. He fanned 28, but he also walked 23, and he walked seven more during a 10-inning trial with the Cubs. However, Carpenter made significant progress with his command in the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a 18/2 K/BB with a 3.29 ERA over 14 innings in a hitting-dominant league.

Carpenter has the stuff to overpower a lineup when his command is on. He features a fastball clocked as high as 100 MPH and works consistently in the mid-90s. His slider and changeup are erratic, but the breaking ball is quite effective on his best days, and in the bullpen he doesn't have to worry as much about his changeup. In the majors, he'll be a valuable middle reliever if he throws enough strikes, and there's been talk of him becoming a closer eventually, although that seems less likely to happen in Boston. He could also return to starting under the right circumstances. If his Arizona Fall League performance is any indication, he could be quite effective in the majors in 2012.