With more than 400 players throughout Major League Baseball history calling Venezuela home, the South American country ranks second to the Dominican Republic among Latin American countries in major-league talent produced. From Luis Aparicio, the country’s lone Hall of Famer, to budding young stars Ronald Acuña Jr. and Gleyber Torres, Venezuela has a track record for turning out elite talent.
The Venezuelan Professional Baseball League produced some spirited competition upon its inception in 1945, and it was enough of a hot spot that Roy Campanella and Satchel Paige traveled to the country to take part. Davey Concepcion, Omar Vizquel, Andres Galarraga and Bobby Abreu were among the standout players to perpetuate the Venezuelan tradition, and Miguel Cabrera, Jose Altuve, Salvador Perez, Torres and Acuna are only a few of the Venezuelan standouts paving the way for the next wave.
Born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, Carlos Carrasco has had his share of obstacles throughout his major league career. Signing with the Philadelphia Phillies as an undrafted free agent in 2003, Carrasco shared that he had been eating Domino’s pizza for two months straight, since it was the only food he knew how to order due to his language barrier. Despite this obstacle, Carrasco rose quickly through the ranks of the Phillies’ minor league system. Ranked as the organization’s top prospect, he was featured on the roster for the All-Star Futures Game for three consecutive years (2006, 2007 and 2008).
In 2009, as the 47th best prospect in MLB, Carrasco was traded to the Cleveland Indians. Once in Cleveland, it would take the Venezuelan righty a couple of seasons for his pitching skills to transition to the talent level of the major leagues. Carrasco faced a handful of interruptions to his career, including Tommy John Surgery in 2011 and a demotion to the minors in 2013. In 2019, Carrasco would face his largest and most important battle yet, a bout with a life threatening disease as he was diagnosed with leukemia. After more than three months of treatment, he returned to the field having beaten the disease. In 2020, The 2020 season marks his best season to date.