Brandon Allen, Daric Barton, and Chris Carter. Three names. Three possibilities for the A’s at first base next season. Oakland is searching for answers on several fronts, with the outfield being the team’s most pressing concern, but not far behind that is the team’s issue at first base.
The A’s are hopeful that one of those three players mentioned above will make a lasting impact next season, but Carter’s name is the one Oakland hopes to see on the starting lineup next year. Carter has been considered, at one point or another, as Oakland’s top hitting prospect, but hasn’t shown great success in his short time with the big league team.
Carter has had plenty of success in Oakland’s farm-system, posting solid numbers throughout his minor league career, but hasn’t carried that success over to the big league level. This year, Carter spent time between the Stockton Ports (A+) and Sacramento River Cats (AAA), hitting a combined .278/.371/.544 with 21 HR and 79 RBIs for Oakland’s two minor league affiliates.
In the year before that, Carter spent 2010 with the River Cats hitting .258/.365/.529 with 31 HR and 94 RBIs. He’s boasted good power throughout his minor league career, something the power-hungry Athletics value. Unfortunately, that power hasn’t exactly helped Carter on the big league level.
Carter appeared in 24 games with Oakland in 2010, hitting just .186/.256/.329 with three home runs and 7 RBIs. Carter’s arrival, which paled in comparison to Atlanta’s hot-shot Jason Heyward‘s 2010 debut, did little to impress fans about his future in Oakland.
He appeared in 15 games this year in Oakland, hitting an unimpressive .136/.174/.136 with no home runs and no RBIs. Small sample numbers, yes, but unimpressive nonetheless.
But while Carter has struggled in the majors, it’s not exactly fair to cast such criticism on a guy who has just 39 games of major league experience. He’s only had 124 plate-appearances and that’s not a lot.
Defensively, Carter is not a fit at either first base or in the outfield. He is, as most people will likely point out, best suited to assume the role of Oakland’s primary designated-hitter. The arrival of Brandon Allen, who might have a shot at claiming the A’s first base job, and the presence of Daric Barton both hinder Carter’s chances at first base.
The A’s are reportedly going to part ways with veteran slugger Hideki Matsui, who served as Oakland’s everyday DH this year. Matsui is an aging player who’s power numbers have been in steady decline since his departure from the Yankees.
Carter, I think, will get a much closer look this spring as a leading candidate to fill Matsui’s spot in the lineup. If he’s given a legitimate shot at playing, which is to say he’ll get more than a handful of at-bats here and there, Carter could ultimately give the A’s support on the offensive side of things.
He only needs a chance. 2012 is the year of opportunity for Carter. He’d better take advantage of it.
What do you think about Carter? Is he a solution to some of the problems Oakland faces on offense or are you convinced that Carter will never make an impact on the big league level? Sound off below!
Follow me on twitter: @oaklandace75