One of the questions that has been weighing heavily on my mind since, well, 2008, is who is Fausto Carmona. After racking my brains about it I have come to the conclusion that Fausto Carmona has 2 distinct, and very different personalities. These personalities are complete opposites from one another, if you put them in a room together it would be like comparing Pedro Martinez to a minor league pitcher, from Rookie ball.
These personalities will be called, Dr. Fausto and Mr. Carmona. Much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the evil legendary doctor who transformed himself into a big evil killer, and was a normal, nice Dr. by day. Dr. Fausto is, for lack of a better term, amazing. He is precise with his pitches, he is aggressive and attacks opposing hitters, gets a ton of ground ball outs and swinging strikes because of the nasty movement on his 96 MPH sinker. He is a surgeon on the mound, as he showed throughout the 2007 season when he won 18 games and was the #2 guy behind CC Sabathia. In many ways he was even better then CC that year, and coming off of a year in which he transitioned from Starter to Closer and it ended horribly, to be able to bounce back and put up that kind of performance was amazing. Dr. Fausto is one of the best pitchers in the American League and quite possibly in the MLB.
Mr. Carmona however is quite the opposite. He nibbles at the plate, walks more batters then he strikes out, and does not try to dominate with his quite obviously dominating stuff. It is almost like he is afraid to be what he really can be, his mechanics are flawed and he pitches with his head too much, over-thinking every little move. This is, for the most part, how he has been ever since that 2007 season, he was even sent back to Rookie ball last year to get his mechanics and his emotions figured out so that he could come back and be some what effective for the remainder of the season. This is why I am worried, this is why I am wondering about which pitcher will show up for the 2010 season. The scary-good Dr. Fausto or the horribly bad Mr. Carmona.
Thus far in winter ball, he has been the Dr. Fausto we all know and love. Last night he made his 2nd start of the winter season, he went 5.0 innings, with 0 walks, 5 hits, and 1 strike out and only 1 run allowed. Over 13.1 innings he is dominating with a 2.70 ERA and has not walked a batter. This is Dr. Fausto. Albeit, it is during winter ball where the competition is not exactly top flight, but it is encouraging. He is taking baby steps to get back to his dominant form, and the key thing for him right now is to stay in that attacking mindset and let his stuff do the work and not his brain. Once he starts to over-think and overthrow his mechanics go to hell and he loses control of his pitches, walks guys and becomes a very mediocre pitcher. The reason I mentioned in the first paragraph that comparing his two personalities to Pedro Martinez and a Rookie ball pitcher is because, when he is Dr. Fausto he reminds me very much of Pedro Martinez. The same kind of insane movement and speed on his pitches, only coming from a much bigger body. He has that kind of potential, he just needs to get himself sorted out.
What we have seen from him in winter ball and towards the end of the 2009 season is encouraging, he seems to be figuring it out slowly. Carmona is 26, it is time for him to reach this potential that has been looming over him for his entire career. If he turns into Dr. Fausto (and I think that this should be his nick-name from now on) full time he will be a top of the line #1 Starter and give the Tribe’s rotation an anchor moving forward and provide it with much needed leadership. All his bad experiences can make him better now, and if he keeps things in perspective and stays in the right frame of mind then he can and will be a dominating pitcher. Not only does he NEED to do this, the Indians NEED him to do this. Hopefully it works out, but this is Cleveland and only time will tell.