The Guardians have a knack for identifying pitchers in other organizations who they acquire in trades because they feel they can be developed into winning major league pitchers.
Not all of them were high profile pitchers at the time they were acquired by the Guardians. Two of the most dramatic examples are two of Cleveland’s Cy Young Award winners, Corey Kluber and Cliff Lee.
One of the quieter moves made by Cleveland following the 2022 season was acquiring 23-year-old righthander Ross Carver in a trade with the D-backs that sent reliever Carlos Vargas to Arizona.
The trade netted the Guardians an extra 40-man roster spot ahead of the reserve roster deadline—and maybe more than that, depending how Carver develops.
Carver was a 20th-round pick by Arizona out of Dallas Baptist in 2021. He worked exclusively as a reliever at DBU, a role he continued in his first pro summer at Low-A Visalia, where he struck out 33 and walked 11 in 22 innings.
In 2022, Carver appeared in a combined 24 games, all of them starts, at High-A Hillsboro and Double-A Amarillo.
In those appearances, the 6-foot-2, 191-pound Carver ran up a 5.06 ERA. But he also struck out 128 batters in 117 innings while holding opposing batters to a .234 average.
That’s when he caught the eye of the Guardians.
“We were intrigued by a number of factors on Ross,” Guardians general manager Mike Chernoff said. “He jumped into a full-time starting pitcher’s role in 2022 and showed impressive performance in High-A.
“Our scouts and analysts felt like he was working from a strong mix of pitches, particularly with his slider and curveball profiling as pitches we think can miss bats at the higher levels.”
With the Guardians, Carver will likely start 2023 at Double-A Akron.
“We feel there may be room for continued improvement in his delivery that would allow him to build upon his already solid baseline,” Chernoff said. “We look forward to seeing what Ross can do as he transitions to our organization.”