Q and A: Chris Carter

Chris Carter is a work horse. He's a gym rat. He's a ballplayer, and now that he's playing everyday he's putting up the best numbers of his career, the best numbers in his league, and he hasn't stopped working. "I come to play everyday, I work hard, and I am really improving," Carter says. Managing Editor James Renwick kept Carter off the field for a near record 12 minutes.

It is a little bit hard to get find Chris Carter.  Well, that's not true, in fact it is real easy to find Chris Carter.  Just go to the park.  He's there, all the time, day and night Chris Carter is there.  When I finally caught up with Chris I was given a warning by Bears Media Relations Director Chad Goldberg, "Chris is getting to the park early for some Extra Work, so he's only going to have 10 minutes."  Carter was a later round pick from a program known for producing stars (Stanford) throughout baseball, but he wasn't an everyday player there.  When he got to Yakima and found out he was going to be in the lineup on a daily basis it appears his philosophy was that they couldn't pull him from the lineup if he never left the park.  No one is going to try and pull him now, says Bears manager Bill Plummer, "Carter is great, he's probably the best hitter in this league.  He hits for power, for average, he's smart and he plays the game the right way."  That's high praise from Plummer, who played along side Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, a couple of guys who defined playing the game the right way.  He also hits the ball the right way, that is often and with power, this is one case where the numbers just don't lie.

Chris Carter '04 Yakima 243 .333 14 60 .572

You went lower in the draft 17th round, most agree the big concern out of Stanford was hitting lefty pitching, how have you handled it this year, what was the big change?

Coach Plummer and Gainer just let me hit against them and just the opportunity has allowed me to zone in.  I'm recognize the curveball now, and it was just a matter of getting the at bats against lefties.  Coach [Yakima Bears hitting coach Jay] Gainer and Coach [Bears Manager Bill] Plummer have worked with me a lot, they have really been the big difference for me.  The coaching staff has been tremendous, just giving me an understanding of baseball and hitting, and giving me a chance to play and produce.

Are there specific players who you have played with or against who push you?

I've always been the one who's pushed myself to be the best, I'm my toughest critic.

You take lots of extra work before games on the field, what are you working on specifically?

I take extra work almost every day.  Today I'm going to focus on hitting to the opposite field because a lot of teams are trying to keep the ball away from me.  I try to take 100 to 200 swings before BP, just to get myself fine tuned and ready.  And then I'll take extra infield and outfield practice because that's what I need.  I'm far from being where I want to be, especially at first base, because I just have never really played 1B until this year.  

1B/OF/DH do you care where you play, are you more comfortable at one position or the other?

I'm happy as long as I'm in the lineup, but I'd rather play the field than DH.  I'm more comfortable in left field because I am still learning first base.  I played two games at first in college, but it is a learning experience.  I just work hard at it and I think with more time at first it'll become second nature and I'll be just as comfortable there as I am in left.

You've seen a lot of guys moved up this year, did it bother you that you weren't?

It's out of my control, I'm happy playing everyday, I'm doing the best I can.  I wasn't looking to get promoted quickly, I had a lot to prove after being a late draft choice, to others and myself, that was my goal was to play everyday, produce, play hard and I'll get moved up once I am ready.

There's a youth movement going on for the D'Backs, is that exciting for you?

I really wanted D'Backs to draft me, I'd heard great things about their organization, and I know its sort of bad to say but I'm sorta glad the big league team is struggling, because a lot of younger players are getting the opportunity.  I think the Diamondbacks have a lot of talent in the minors, and I think they have a real bright future, and I want to be a part of it. 

What has been the biggest adjustment from college to pros?

It actually has been a real easy adjustment just because I get to play everyday.  I know I'm going to be in the lineup, in the four slot and my job is to drive in runs.  I'm just much more comfortable playing everyday, more comfortable knowing that I'm going to be in the lineup, and so there really hasn't been a tough adjustment for me.

28 consecutive games reaching base, do you find that even at this level they pitch around you?

It's very frustrating, I'm starting to learn that you have to be patient and when you get your pitch don't miss it.  I try to get on base as much as you can, if that means taking a walk I take it.  I've scored a lot of runs because the other guys on the team are coming through.  I can't do it all myself, and I don't have to.  There are great guys on this squad, guys like Todd Buchanan always seem to come through in clutch situations.  

You're one of the top 25 prospects in the Diamondbacks organization, you're the MVP of the Yakima Bears according to your Manager, you're having an incredible year, but who else has really stood out on the team in your eyes?

Buchanan.  At first base, as a pinch hitter, he's been the guy, he's in his second year now and he's a leader on the field and a leader in the clubhouse.  Todd's a great defensive first basemen, reminds me a lot of a guy I used to love watching, JT Snow.  He's right there as the MVP in my mind.  Plus he's taking time out of his day to teach me how to play first, and he's been willing to teach me.  The coaches have worked with me a lot, but he's showed me a lot of foot work, situational things, where to position myself, and I know the guys around here know that he's one of the main guys on this team.

You've played in some great programs, first at De La Salle High School and then at Stanford, certainly that helps your skills, but does it also help you to deal with success and failure?

I've been fortunate to play on great teams and teams with a great history of success, there's definitely a winning tradition, I expect to win, I play to win.  I think that a lot of that comes from playing at those programs.  There are great coaches, great players, and it helps when you get to this level to have come out of those programs that are also at a real high level.


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