The 26-year-old finally found a comfort zone in 2012, sharing time at first base with Brandon Moss in Oakland while crushing 16 homers in just 218 at-bats.
Miscast in Houston as a left fielder in order to get his bat into the lineup, Carter is just 2-for-22 to start the season with one walk and 11 strikeouts. He struggled like this over his first two big league seasons in 2010 and 2011 (19-for-114, 9 BB, 41 K) and also ended last year’s impressive overall season with just five hits in his last 58 at-bats.
In a rebuilding season, the Astros can afford to be patient with Carter and hope he comes out of his slump in a big way. His inability to play the outfield very well could wear their patience thin, though.
There’s not a lot to get excited about, though, in terms of potential replacements. On-base machine Robbie Grossman, who is off to a 6-for-17 start in Triple-A with six walks, could be a nice change of pace considering Carter and starting right fielder Rick Ankiel have combined for one walk and 23 strikeouts.