The New York Yankees selected right-handed pitcher Austin DeCarr in the third round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Salisbury School in Connecticut. He previously was a standout two-sport athlete at Xaverian Brothers High School with a commitment to attend Clemson University prior to turning pro.
DeCarr made his professional debut as a 19-year-old with the Gulf Coast Yankees June 28 and went 2-1 with a 4.61 ERA in 11 appearances (8 starts). He struck out 24 batters in 23.1 innings of work and recorded a 1.15 WHIP. At season’s end, DeCarr had a stint in the Instructional League, where he worked closely with organizational pitching coaches Gil Patterson, Greg Pavlick and Cory Arbiso on improving his command.
Initially ticketed for a June debut at either Pulaski or Staten Island, DeCarr instead missed the entire 2015 season after experiencing elbow pain during spring training. He underwent Tommy John Surgery in June and was the third pitcher in the organization (Ty Hensley and Domingo German) to suffer the injury. DeCarr pitched with bone spurs in his elbow during his high school career.
Following an extensive rehab process, DeCarr returned to the mound June 26 for the New York-Penn League’s Staten Island Yankees. He initially struggled to return to his prior form but made important strides with a four-start stretch beginning on July 28 where he allowed just four runs in 19.2 innings. DeCarr made 10 starts with Staten Island, pitching a career-high 39.2 innings with 17 walks, 31 strikeouts, and a 4.12 ERA.
The 6-foot-3 right-hander features a fastball, curveball, and changeup. In his return from Tommy John Surgery last summer, DeCarr experienced his fastball velocity drop to the low-90s and flatten in the top of the strike zone. His curveball has sharp, tumbling action and his changeup showed marked improvement. Due to the limitations with his fastball, his command regressed but had greater success pitching out of the stretch with runners on base and when he worked in the lower half of the zone.
Fully healthy for the first time since prior to Tommy John Surgery, DeCarr worked out extensively this winter in his native Foxborough and drove down to Tampa for spring training in the late January. With continued progression, DeCarr will likely pitch for the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs in the South Atlantic League, and should improve both his command and fastball velocity as his elbow responds to the rigors of pitching a full season. Entering his age-22 season, DeCarr appears ready to put his early setbacks behind him and resume his development.