As a hopeful young draft class signs and enters the minor leagues with dreams of making it to the majors, it is a good time look back at one who successfully made that arduous journey—even if it only lasted for a short time. A vibrant recent video interview with former Met Robert Carson provides a convenient opportunity to meet a former Met more in-depth.
Always extremely generous with his time throughout his minor and major league tenure—both in and out of the ballpark—the gregarious former Metropolitan recently spoke at length with YouTube Video Reporter Tyler Boronski, where he reflected on his brief time in the majors and his current tenure in the Atlantic League.
In the interview, Carson reminisces fondly about walking and scoring in his only major league at bat against the one and only Clayton Kershaw. He also showed bemused resignation at grooving a home run to “a future hall of famer” in his former Met “big brother” and then-Cardinal Carlos Beltran.
The Mets drafted Carson in the 14th round of the 2007 draft out of his hometown high school in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. As he progressed through the minors, Carson flashed enough potential to be ranked as high as tenth in Fangraphs’ team prospect rankings. As a big lefty with a ground-ball producing fastball, there were hopes he could develop as a starter. Other outlets—including Amazin’ Avenue—saw more potential as a possible late-inning lefty, particularly given his struggles as a starter after moving up to AA Binghamton.
The organization apparently agreed, moving Carson to the bullpen in 2012. Carson bounced between the minors and the majors that season, getting his first call to the Show on April 24, 2012—sporting a very Met-appropriate #73—but getting sent back before making an appearance. Carson eventually returned to the Mets twice during that season, making his major league debut with a scoreless inning in Toronto on May 18 and making an additional 17 appearances while recording a 4.73 ERA over 13.1 innings.
Carson’s development unfortunately flattened at that point, and his window with the Mets—and in the majors—shut abruptly. His 2013 season involved much shuttling between Las Vegas and Flushing. Carson struggled over his 19.2 innings (14 appearances) to the tune of an 8.24 ERA (9.40 FIP) and was released from the Mets’ 40-man roster at the end of the season. He was then claimed by the Los Angeles Angels and spent time in both the Angels and Dodgers organizations in 2014, but never pitched again in the majors beyond his 33 innings with the Mets.
Carson hasn’t given up the ghost, though. He is currently spending his fourth season in the Atlantic League—home of a number of former and future hopeful major leaguers. He is currently pitching for his third organization there, the York Revolution.
In a climate where players still get unfairly ripped by old-man-yelling-at-cloud reporters, sniped at by certain team management for not playing through injury, and begrudged financial success by some fans, it’s easy to forget that most players go out there every day they physically are able to do what they love—regardless of whether a rare $100+ million contract is in the offing or to be lived up to.
Robert Carson had only a brief moment in the MLB sun. But he is still on the field, “Having fun like a kid and throwing the sh*t out of it.” You can still watch him do so in York, PA.