We've been waiting on Chris Carter's prodigal power for years now and it finally appears as though Oakland will give him an extended look at the big-league level once camp breaks this spring.
The A's have such a need for a power bat in the middle of their lineup that they cannot afford to ignore Carter any longer. This big man is far enough out of the fantasy radar to be a steal in the later rounds.
But what about all of the strikeouts? Which position will he play? All of these questions and more are answered in the latest installment of 2011 Fantasy Baseball Hot Prospects.
Chris Carter: 1B/OF, Oakland Athletics
Weight: 235 lbs.
2010 Stats (AAA): .258/.365/.540, 31 HR, 94 RBI, 92 runs, one steal
There isn't a ballpark in any country that Chris Carter would have trouble hitting home runs.
Carter is a big, strong specimen with quick hands which allow him to connect and rake pitches that appear to have gotten in on him. For a young power hitter, Carter has exceptional pitch recognition and has demonstrated the ability to take walks when pitchers are staying away from him. This knack has proven to be key in a young power hitter's success and longevity in the league.
As with most power hitters though, Carter strikes out a lot—usually on breaking balls low and away. Although he hit for a high batting average while in the lower ranks of the minor leagues—including a whopping .337 for AA Midland in 2009—it is likely he will top off around the .270 mark in the big leagues.
Carter is athletic for a big guy and moves surprisingly well, but he is not an interested defender at any position. Last season he went through prolonged slumps at both the minor and major-league levels but showed he is capable of making adjustments and getting back on track. Carter is major-league ready right now as he has little more to prove by feasting on minor league pitching.
The key for Carter making an impact in fantasy baseball this year is playing time—and more, specifically at-bats.
His bat has proven to be major-league ready and his power would be a welcome sight in the Oakland lineup this year. The A's have Daric Barton established at 1B, so Carter's best bet is to see time in left and possibly right field.
Carter is the answer the A's have been looking for since Frank Thomas left in 2007. His power bat and run-producing ability accompanied by his always-solid OBP is exactly what the team is lacking in the middle of the order. He is one of few deep fantasy sleepers with 30+ HR and 90+ RBI-upside that you could land in the final rounds of your draft.
Even if he were to begin the season in AAA, it might still be prudent to hold onto Carter depending on who else is available in free agency. This slugger won't spend much time (if any) in the minor leagues this season and should be a fixture for the Oakland offense for years to come.
Compare To: Adam Dunn, Chris Davis, Kyle Blanks
Jeff Mans is a contributor to Bleacher Report and the Senior Writer at Fantasy Alarm.