The Other Chris Carter

When you share a name with perhaps the most powerful man in the minor leagues (Oakland’s Chris Carter), and you have been toiling away for the past three years in one of the deepest organizations in baseball, your can disappear pretty quickly. But Boston’s Chris Carter may be on the way to New York in the Billy Wagner trade, and it’s possible that regular playing time finally awaits Carter on the Mets. Perhaps it is time, then, to talk about the good things that the other Chris Carter brings to the table.

With the caveat that he’s always been a little old at his minor league stations, Carter has consistently put up good numbers at the AAA level. In the Arizona system, he had a nice .301/.395/.483 line in his first attempt at the level in 2006. That production, however, did not land him in the major leagues. He requested a trade and was sent to Washington and then included by the Nationals in the trade that netted Wily Mo Pena.

Thus began his long battle for the final roster spot in Boston, which he finally (temporarily) won this spring. That was, at least, until Mark Kotsay got healthy and provided better defense at more spots on the field. Back went Carter to AAA.

In Boston began also the long, slow decline of his AAA numbers from the .880 OPS peak to this year’s less exciting .779 OPS. Perhaps he lost a little desire after his 400th game at that level, or maybe his platoon split was being taken advantage of. While Carter brought some nice on-base skills to the table against both lefties (.377) and righties (.362) in the minors, his pop disappeared when facing lefties (.405 SLG). He may need a platoon mate – that lower slugging number won’t cut it at first base in the major leagues.

We seem to have forgotten that we were going to highlight the positives in his game. He can obviously get on base (12.7% walk rate in the minor leagues), and his defense at first base is actually good (9.26 RF/G career in the minors). With the aforementioned pop against righties, he can help the power-starved Metropolitans (fewest home runs in the major leagues this year) for sure. The only problem with pairing him with Daniel Murphy at first base in New York next year is that Murphy shares his problem with left-handed pitchers (.725 OPS vs lefties in the minors, .718 vs them in the majors).

But, hey, when you are trying to build depth in a farm system that otherwise boasts the underwhelming Cory Sullivan and Nick Evans as possible outfield and first base depth, you have to take what you can get. Especially when you are offering a reliever coming off of Tommy John surgery that costs $2.5 million per month and can only pitch once every three days in return.

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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

6 Responses to “The Other Chris Carter”

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  1. Keith Hernandez says:

    “and his defense at first base is actually very good”

    Obviously you haven’t seen him play. He’s TERRIBLE in the field at 1b and was awful in LF as well. This is why he was called up for several years; bat was there but glove was not.

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  2. Judy says:

    The Red Sox did this guy a disservice when he made the team out of spring training, and for no apparent reason that I could see. While he is not a good defensive player, neither is Mike Lowell any longer, and they continued to trot him out to 3B every single day until he landed back on the DL while Carter rotted away on the bench. They had no good reason not to give the guy a start here and there against RHPs, and didn’t.

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  3. Eno Sarris says:

    You got me. I have not seen any of his 23 major league at-bats, and therefore have missed any of his on-field butchery. Range Factor is a flawed stat, and you are correct that the scouting reports mention his poor defense. Perhaps with Murphy’s decent defense (at first), they can cobble together an offense/defense platoon of sorts at first base.

    He looks like a decent hitter, in his defense, and everyone looks like a bad fielder next to Keith Hernandez.

    The Mets need to get whatever hitters they can. Ike Davis is a ways away, and has his own flaws. The Mets have him and Fernando Martinez and nothing else.

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    • Wrighteous says:

      “Ike Davis is a ways away”

      WHY?!?!?! Davis is tearing up double-A, I don’t get it. Throw him into the foray. What do the Mets have to lose? On a small market team Davis would be starting. This myth that a prospect can come up in NY and get become spoiled/ruined by the media attention is preposterous when the big market team is in 4th place and has nothing going for it. The Mets should bring up their young guys and give us fans a reason to watch this September.

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  4. Eno Sarris says:

    You may get your wish. The Yankees claimed Chris Carter to block him, so he won’t be on the Mets this September.

    Ike Davis, though, has been playing through a little pain, and just came up to AA this year. Sure, he’s 22, but I think the Mets will let him finish the season in the minor leagues and if he comes up at all he’ll just watch and get the occasional pinch-hitting opportunity.

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