By The Numbers: Chris Carter

Chris Carter shattered all sorts of homerun records with the High-A Stockton Ports in 2008. This season, his homerun production isn't quite as prodigious for Double-A Midland, but, Nathaniel Stoltz writes, that isn't much cause for concern. Stoltz examines the numbers Carter has put up thus far this season inside...

Stats good through Monday, July 6, 2009

There were high expectations for Midland first baseman Chris Carter entering 2009.

Carter hit 39 homers, an exceptional total for a minor leaguer, in 2008, his first year with the Oakland organization. Moving from High-A Stockton to Double-A Midland in 2009, Carter was expected to provide some Texas League fireworks.

However, one number in Carter's statline seems to be disappointing this year.

He's hit just 13 homers.

In 60 percent as many games as 2008, Carter has only hit one-third of last year's homer total. He's on pace for 23 homers, a big dropoff.

Despite that superficially alarming statistic, I have a message for those of you who are worried about Carter.

Don't worry.

While his homers have dropped, everything else is coming together for the big first baseman in 2009.

In 2008, Carter hit just .259 in the best hitters' league in baseball, and had a .361 OBP. He struck out 156 times and walked 77. He hit 32 doubles to go with his 39 homers.

This season, Carter's hitting .301 with a .401 OBP in a league that isn't as hitter-friendly. He also is on pace for more walks (85) and fewer strikeouts (150). His power hasn't evaporated, either: Carter is on pace to hit 44 doubles this year.

Last year, Carter hit 32 doubles and 39 homers. This year, it just seems like the more neutral offensive environment in Midland has turned some of the homers into doubles, as he projects for 12 more doubles and 16 fewer homers.

Carter's offensive development is a great sign. In 2008, he showed us he can slug with anyone. This season, his power numbers may not be as gaudy, but he's developing a better plate approach, making more contact, and seeing more pitches.

Still just 22, Carter has plenty of time to turn some of those doubles back into homers. If he can combine the .300 average/.400 OBP skills of 2009 with the .310 Isolated Power of 2008, he could be an MVP-caliber hitter along the lines of a right-handed David Ortiz.

So don't worry about the homers—not only is Carter not regressing, he's actually improving.


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