Micahel Carico – Pic by Davidson Athletics
You would think that if the Cubs took a fifth round pick that was ranked in the 80-120 range by most publications that I would be at least somewhat familiar with the selection. Such is the case of Michael Carico, who the Cubs took with the 149th pick in the draft.
So, I’ve been playing catch-up the past week to get to know him better.
I’ve watched a lot of videos, I’ve read some reports on Pipeline, Prospects Live, Baseball America, and more. I talked to a couple of people I know and trust. I even checked out his stats in the Northwoods League and the Cape.
Here’s the gist of what I have found – He can hit. He can hit for power. He has a great approach. He can control the strike zone as a hitter. Defensively, he needs some work but he can easily get better with experience and pro coaching.
Age – 20
Height – 6-foot-1
Weight – 195
Position – Catcher
From – Winston Salem, North Carolina
Fifth round pick 2023 draft out of Davidson
I know this is going to sound strange, but the first thing that caught my eye about Carico was not that he is left-handed power hitting catcher. No, it was his age. He’s only 20. He’s not going to turn 21 for a while as the Cubs continue to mine the 20 year old market the past two years when it comes to college picks.
Carico’s freshman year at Davidson in 2021 was not a big success. He appeared in 29 games and he hit just .217 with one home run and seven RBI. There was not much to write home about there.
But it was his sophomore season at Davidson that put Carico on the map.
He hit over .400 with a nation leading .559 on base percentage and he also hit 21 home runs and drove in 57 in 56 games. His season did not in there as he played in the Northwoods League, a wooden bat league, where he hit .263 with 3 home runs and 18 RBI in 24 games.
There are concerns and part of them had to do with his appearance last summer on the US national team tryouts. He struggled against velocity and it basically what it comes down to, he only faced a few pitchers who threw above 93 at Davidson but that can be worked on. Easily.
There were also concerns about his defense, but guess what? That can be worked on as well.
This spring, Carico played in just 21 games as a broken wrist interrupted his season. He hit seven home runs in 21 games and drove in 18, but his draft stack dropped as a result, as any injury would do.
Here is what Prospects Live said of his skills:
He is a young for his class junior who does not turn 21 until September. He dominated the Atlantic 10 last year and was playing well before injuries cut his season short this year. He has not faced the best competition and struggled when he did. Carico is a late bloomer whose power and eye at the plate are what will get him drafted. He profiles as a below-average defender behind the plate so the offensive profile is what will get him drafted. One can make a case for more growth potential due to his age, level of competition, and injury issues in college limiting his availability. There is a high risk here, but he is one of the few catchers in this class who has a chance at being a starter for a team down the road.
Whatever needs worked on is going to be worked on by the Cubs and Carico.
The one thing that does not talked about enough in development is just how good the coaching is at minor league level. Whether it is the affiliate coaches or roving coordinators, they are very good at what they do. They are actually outstanding. They are going to take Carico and work with him. He will face high velocity guys every day in BP and in the batting cages. The coaches will drill him to work on his catching skills with pitching machines and 1X1 drills and instruction.
The Cubs are betting that Carico has the work ethic to improve. They are betting that he will be in Arizona that first winter to be ready for his first full season.
Here is what Dan Kantrovitz said to Marquee of what the Cubs thought about Carico’s talent.
“He came into the year with a lot of momentum. Somebody that we were pretty excited about as far as just having a power bat and somebody that we thought could maintain the catching position, which is a rare combination. We expect a full recovery and no long-term concerns there. He’s definitely somebody that along with [Sanders] we’ll probably try to take it fairly slowly with them.”
Players change greatly in their first two years. They have to learn how to adapt at each level.
For Carico, he’s probably going to start out at Myrtle Beach, which is odd because that ballpark is not friendly to power hitters. Still, having Buddy Bailey whisper in his ear every day might be the perfect thing for Carico to tap into the power that he’s shown the past two seasons.
Now that he is healthy, it is time to crank some home runs, because that is what Carico does.
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