Three Times a Charm

It’s not often that a player with Chris Carter’s talent spends time with three clubs in the span of two weeks. With 39 dingers, the hulking infielder tied for second overall in minor league home runs in 2008 while playing for Oakland’s High-A ball affiliate in Stockton.

Carter, now 21, was originally drafted in the 15th round of the 2005 draft out of a Las Vegas high school. He spent three seasons in the White Sox organization before being sent to Arizona on Dec. 3, 2007 for fellow slugger Carlos Quentin. Eleven days later, Carter was part of the bounty that netted Arizona pitcher Dan Haren from the Oakland Athletics.

In his first full season in the minors in 2007, after two Rookie ball campaigns, Carter slugged 25 homers, drove in 93 runs and hit .291/.383/.522. His power numbers took another step forward this season with the Oakland organization, including an ISO increase from .231 to .310, while some of his other numbers took a step back. Carter hit .259/.361/.569 with 156 strikeouts and 77 walks in 506 at-bats. His strikeout rate rose from 24% in 2007 to 30.8% in 2008, while his walk rate remained roughly the same. Carter’s batting average was a bit of a disappointment but his BABIP was .296, compared to .336 in 2007.

Oakland has another first base prospect, Sean Doolittle, who played most of the season on the same squad as Carter, before a late-season promotion to Double-A. Carter spent time at third base to accommodate his teammate but his defence is below average at both third base (41 games, 14 errors) and first base.

Doolittle, a slick fielder, is not a classic slugger like Carter and is more of a hitter in the mold of John Olerud or Lyle Overbay. The two players should open 2009 on the same team again and it will be interesting to see which player takes the next big step needed to secure a future role on the big league club.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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