Breakout Bombers: Juan Carela
Last level: High-A
Expected level: High-A
Signed: July 2, 2018
Carela came out of the gait hot in 2022, sporting a re-tooled delivery with improved control. The Yankees worked with him to tighten his slider which got a ton of strikeouts. He mowed down the competition until August, when he hit the proverbial wall over his last 27 innings. At that point he was already 48 innings over his previous career high, so it’s neither surprising nor concerning that he tired out. Even with the forgettable last month, Carela finished with respectable numbers. He finished with a 4.21 ERA and 131 K : 52 BB in 107 innings. Opponents also batted just .192 against him. Considering that he was 20-years-old in Low-A and High-A for the entire season, those are not numbers to be scoffed at.
Carela is working with a 92-94 mph fastball which already tops out at 97 and has sinking action. He has what is now a plus slider to go with the fastball. The next steps, per the Yankees, are to improve his changeup and add a two-seam fastball. Improvement of the third and fourth pitches are likely to lead to a true breakout in 2023. Now that Juan has a 100+ innings season under his belt, his strength and stamina should improve. Between Carela, Messinger, and a couple of other big arms who should be in High-A Hudson Valley this year (Thorpe, Beck), this rotation will be one to follow closely. This group could produce multiple breakouts, which could significantly increase the value of the Yankees farm system.
He’s off to a nice start in 2023 and is coming off one of the best starts of his career. He has 13 K : 5 BB and a 2.35 ERA in 7.2 innings so far. If he can wrangle in the walks, Carela could find himself in Double-A by midseason.