Slugger supreme Chris Carter is expected to join the Athletics in Seattle for their upcoming road trip. The 6'5", 230-pound Carter is the top position prospect in the A's system and one of most fearsome power sticks in the minor leagues. Carter has connected on 119 long balls since 2007, including 27 in 2010. A first baseman by trade, he's been camped out in left field for the Sacramento River Cats since July 28 in what is likely a portent of what's to come.
Carter, 23, is tearing the cover off the ball right now, making this a most ideal time for his promotion. He finished July batting .318 with nine HR and 22 RBI. Perhaps of greater importance, he had 20 walks, his highest total for any month this season. Though he had 26 whiffs in 28 games, this is acceptable with his level of production.
Through eight games in August he's hitting .333 with three HR and 13 RBI, improving his walk-to-strikeout ratio to 6:6.
The switch seems to have clicked for Carter. His power and patience are clearly evident and his ticket to the show.
Carter is more than a HR basher, he's a run producer, as evidenced by his .308 mark with runners in scoring position.
Where does Carter fit into the A's puzzle?
Current first baseman Daric Barton left Sunday's game with shoulder spasms and is listed as day to day. Carter appears to be the only adequate fill-in while Barton recovers. Once he does, Carter will be given his opportunity for everyday at-bats in left field, with an occasional breather at DH. Despite his deficient power, the A's love Barton's Moneyball approach and ability to work the pitcher. They believe he's their first baseman of the future (for now). As long as that's the case, Carter's future is in left field.
It's hard to figure why the Athletics were so apprehensive with Carter. Two career minor leaguers, 29-year-old OF Matt Carson and 31-year-old OF Matt Watson, have essentially inhabited his roster spot. Both are hitting near the Mendoza Line and are unlikely to make any current or future impact. Even bringing back Jack Cust, who was demoted prior to Opening Day, seemed like a bizarre move with a spring chicken like Carter waiting in the wings. The A's were never a contender and knew full well what they had in Cust; a slow bat and K machine. This is Carter's sixth season in minor league ball, but his first full season in AAA.
Carter's bat finally said "enough is enough," and his play on the diamond demanded a call to the big leagues. In keeper leagues with no minor league spots, now is the time to act. He's worth a flier in re-draft leagues as well, based on his power potential alone. His batting average might not be delightful initially and his strikeout rate may be escalated, but he should produce nonetheless.
Granted, Oakland Coliseum is not exactly a hitter's paradise. But Carter is a big man; when he hits one on the sweet spot and gets it elevated, no park will contain him. How big league pitchers attack him, and his subsequent adjustments, should be interesting to observe over the season's final two months.
Written by Adam Ganeles exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Look for Adam's weekly insight into A, AA, & AAA ball.
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