Carter A Big Presence In Stockton Line-up

Chris Carter may not have played above A-ball yet in his career, but his name was familiar to viewers of ESPN this December. The slugging first baseman was part of two fairly high-profile trades this past December. The first sent him from Chicago to Arizona and the second from Arizona to Oakland. Now in the Oakland A's organization, Carter is making his presence felt with the Stockton Ports.

At 6'4'', 220, Chris Carter cuts an imposing figure. When he steps into the batting cage before the game, most people in the stadium stop what they are doing to watch him launch majestic drive after majestic drive well over the outfield walls. California League pitchers have quickly learned to fear Carter, as well. Through only 46 games this season, Carter has already gone deep 11 times. Not surprisingly, teams have been pitching around Carter as of late, walking him eight times in the past five games through Friday.

Homeruns are nothing new for Carter. Last season, Carter hit 25 homers for the Chicago White Sox's Low-A Kannapolis squad and in 319 career minor league games, Carter has hit 62 homers.

"I'm not up there trying to hit homeruns. I'm looking for a good pitch and am trying to hit the ball as hard as possible," Carter said.

A number of Carter's homers have been of the tape-measure variety.
Because of his reputation for being a power hitter, teams don't often challenge Carter. Throughout his career, Carter says that pitchers have tried to stay away from his hitting zone by pitching him hard on the inner-half of the plate and soft to the outside of the plate. Teams that have chosen to go after Carter this season have often learned to regret it. Earlier this season, the Ports were battling the Modesto Nuts in a game that went into the 11th inning. Twice the Nuts chose to walk number three hitter Sean Doolittle to get to Carter with a runner in scoring position and two-outs. The first time, in the ninth inning, the strategy worked. The second time, however, Carter made them pay by launching a long, walk-off homerun to left-center field.

"The first time, I was like, ‘okay, it's a righty-lefty thing,' but the second time I couldn't really understand why they did it. It worked out for us, though," Carter said laughing.

Carter has been sharing time at first base and at DH this season with Doolittle, who was the A's second pick in the 2007 draft. The two have combined to hit 23 homers and drive-in 72 runs in the middle of the Ports' line-up. Being a DH can be a hard adjustment for a young player who is used to playing in the field, but Carter has handled those duties well.

Carter has spent time at first and DH this season.
"I try to keep my approach the same regardless of whether I'm in the field or DHing," Carter said.

"I try to stay focused on the game [in-between at-bats] and try not to let my mind wander."

Carter had a lot to think about this off-season, when he was dealt twice in the span of only two weeks. The first deal came on December 3rd, when Carter was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Arizona Diamondbacks for outfielder Carlos Quentin. Two weeks later, Carter discovered that he was being traded again, this time to Oakland as part of the Dan Haren trade.

"I didn't know what was going on [this off-season]. It was like, ‘oh, you got traded to the Diamondbacks,' and then a couple of weeks later, I got a call saying I was traded to the A's. I kind of like, ‘alright.' You just roll with it," Carter said.

The transition into the A's system was made easier for Carter by virtue of the fact that the A's acquired a number of former White Sox farmhands this off-season, including Archie Gilbert and Fautino De Los Santos, both of whom started the season with Carter in Stockton.

"It's a real nice change coming over here. I like the feel here," Carter said.

The Stockton Ports like the feel of having Carter's power in the middle of their line-up, as well.

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