2017 MLB Draft Profile: RHP Sam Carlson, Burnsville HS (Minn.)

Sam Carlson

Here is the final MLB Draft profile in the series. It’s on Sam Carlson, a prep pitcher from Minnesota whom the Dodgers probably won’t take, if Billy Gasparino’s draft history is any indication.

Previous profiles:

6’4, 195 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
DOB: Dec. 3, 1998

Burnsville, Minn.
Commitment: University of Florida

Baseball America: 21
ESPN: 17
FanGraphs: 13
Hero Sports: 17
MLB.com: 15
Perfect Game: 49
Scouting Baseball: 14

Slot recommended bonus (No. 23): $2,702,700

Editor’s Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and video.


I’ve resisted the urge to write up a prep pitching prospect until now. Carlson’s set of athleticism, projection and raw stuff is so enticing that it’s hard to look beyond it any longer.

Carlson is a big righty out of Minnesota whose fastball is routinely touched the mid-90s this spring. It sits in the 91-94 MPH range, which could increase as he matures physically and gets some professional instruction. He can sink it, giving it another element. He pairs it with one of the more advanced sliders among prep pitchers. It sits in the mid-80s and he’s not afraid to throw it in any count. It has solid tilt and looks like a future plus-pitch. He also has a surprisingly advanced changeup that isn’t exactly at the level of his slider, but it isn’t far off. He has a good feel for pitching that isn’t seen in a lot of high school draftees.

On the hill, he has a typical delivery at the beginning. He stands on the first base side and that helps him get some run on his fastball and changeup. Everything is fluid until he brings his arm forward. It lags a bit behind his body, which requires some arm whip to get the ball to the plate. He has excellent arm speed, but there’s no telling how much stress that’s putting on his elbow/shoulder. That’s something to watch as he progresses through the minor leagues.


Videos courtesy of 2080 Baseball, Perfect Game and Baseball America.

Not many high school pitchers in this draft have a higher ceiling than Carlson. After Hunter Greene, Mackenzie Gore and Shane Baz have higher upsides than Carlson, but a guy of Carlson’s talent level being available at 23 would be quite the thing. He projects to be a mid-rotation starter with two above-average-to-plus pitches and a third average pitch. He has projection remaining and could end up being a beast.

High schoolers always have more risk when it comes to signability. His commitment to the University of Florida would be a tough one to pass on if he doesn’t get the bonus he desires. But a slot or slightly better deal should get him to forego that commitment.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.