On the Horizon: Chris Carter, 1B/LF

Chris Carter is a 25-year old left-handed hitter who has learned to play first base and left field. Sound familiar? That sounds a lot like what free agent-to-be Eric Hinske currently does for the Red Sox. And that’s no surprise, because Carter will get a chance to fill that role next season, competing with Brandon Moss. Carter was once ranked 2nd in his draft class for raw power by Baseball America, but it looks more like he’s got middling/gap power. A thinking man’s hitter, Carter shows a lot of patience for a young hitter (.390 career minor league OBP), and he’s tough to fan (one strikeout per 7.32 AB over 4 minor league seasons). At 6′ 0″ and 210 lbs, he’s smallish for first base, and his defense still needs a lot of work. Probably better suited to playing 1B or DH in the American League. Lots of scouts have pegged him as a triple-A/insurance-type player, but he has outperformed expectations before.

Carter was very highly touted out of high school in California, and went to Stanford, an excellent baseball program. However, he hardly got to play due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder his freshman year. Drafted in the 17th round by the Diamondbacks, Carter shot up through their system and was playing at triple-A within two years. He led their whole farm system in 2005 with 31 HR and 115 RBI. However, with superstar Conor Jackson ahead of him on the depth chart, it wasn’t likely he’d see much playing time over there. Scouts pegged him early as a platoon-type who couldn’t hit lefties, but Carter has really closed that gap over his minor-league career.

Carter boasts great numbers (try .310/.390/.519/.909 over four minor league seasons), though to be fair, he has played in a lot of hitter-friendly ballparks. He already had 60 XBH this year when he was traded to the Red Sox as part of the Wily Mo Pena deal. He wasn’t as successful at Pawtucket after the deal: .234/.308/.319 in 47 AB, but given the small sample size, I wouldn’t worry too much. His hitting should be pretty solid, and as a player with all his minor league options intact, he’s quite valuable as a backup or as trade bait for a team hungry for a DH (Minnesota Twins, anyone?).


5 Responses to On the Horizon: Chris Carter, 1B/LF

  1. donchoi says:

    Carter will participate in the AFL this year, so we’ll see how he stacks up against the best competition in the minors. Let’s wish him luck!

  2. Art Vandelay says:

    The inside scoop is that Carter had differences with the Stanford coach (not the only one), but he had an excellent relationship with the DBacks management and even better rapport with that of the Sox. We’re expecting big things from Carter this year.

  3. redsoxtalk says:

    Thanks, Art. That makes a lot of sense why he never got much playing time at Stanford, despite his talent. He’s certainly looking good this Spring, and I hope to see him at Fenway sometime soon.

  4. el says:

    i recomend reading this story about Chris http://diamondbacks.scout.com/2/466403.html

  5. redsoxtalk says:

    Thanks for the link, good read!

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