The A’s shook things up yesterday a bit when they decided they had seen enough of Tyson Ross in an A’s uniform, and saw fit to bring back the once prized top prospect Chris Carter back to the show. In the years past Carter has been brought up only to struggle mightily at first, failing to collect hits, failing to look comfortable, failing to prove to anyone he was anything but lost at the plate. Aside from a short stretch at the conclusion of the 2010 season in Seattle, Carter had shown absolutely nothing to demonstrate he was capable of hitting MLB pitchers.
In 39 games between 2010 and 2011 Carter had a .167/.226/.254 line with an OPS of .480. Not exactly what you’d like to see from your future power hitting first baseman, but also not a huge sample size to be able to make a definitive diagnosis. Carter was not given consistent and prolonged playing time at the Major League level, so it’s very difficult if not impossible to truly determine his ability at the highest levels with that in mind. For whatever reason the A’s had preferred to go with aging veterans in the DH role, a combination of many players not named Chris Carter at 1b, and well let’s just say nobody really ever wants to see him play LF again after what we saw before.
Fast forward to 2012, Chris Carter has started 2 games for the A’s, and he’s showing that perhaps he’s a different hitter than he was before. The two home runs he has hit so far showed the same kind of aggression and fierceness that he showed with the home runs he did hit in late 2010. His .279/.367/.486 line in Sacramento this year shows he has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. Often times players simply do need a little more seasoning in the minors to refine their swings, but Chris Carter has spent the better part of the last 2.5 seasons in Triple A and has had consistent success there. There is no excuse for him to continue wasting his years in the minors.
Athletics fans have seen a very similar case take place across the bay with much hyped 1B Brandon Belt. Belt was supposed to be the automatic solution to the Giants power deficiency, but he struggled and the Giants sent him back to the minors where he regained his stroke and dominated. Now Belt is finally getting a chance to play at the big league level and as the A’s saw first hand last weekend, he is beginning to show the ability to reach his high ceiling. The A’s need to take a page from their rivals and give Chris Carter that same chance. Daric Barton is getting on base in Sacramento, but his power remains nearly non existent at a premium power position. Brandon Moss caught fire when he was called up, but his bat has gone completely silent since then. Kila Ka’aihue is in Sacramento, but he has been reduced to organizational depth at this point. Chris Carter is the only one who has not gotten that opportunity that all the others have had, it’s his turn right now. The A’s owe it to him, to themselves, and to all the A’s fans to settle the debate once and for all as to whether Chris Carter can be the next… say Paul Konerko… or the next Dan Johnson…