Scouting Mets' Prospect #33: Mike Carp

The New York Mets drafted Mike Carp in the 9th round of the 2004 draft out of Lakeland High School. An All-State California player in high school, Carp has drawn early raves as a possible left-handed version of David Wright. Carp ranks #33 in our Top 50 Mets' prospects.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Mike Carp
Position: First Base
DOB: June 30, 1986
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 195
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

Mike (aka Chris) Carp was a standout first baseman for Lakewood High School in California, earning the ABCA All-American Honors for Region 8 along with the likes of Matt Bush (Padres) and Philip Hughes (Yankees), both first round draft selections in the 2004 draft. Carp, who finished tied for fifth in doubles in California in 2004 with 13 doubles while hitting .387 with 28 RBI, also earned First Team All-State honors for California High School baseball. Upon being drafted by the Mets in the 9th round, Carp signed with the Mets for $60,000 in June and was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Mets to make his professional debut.

Carp had a decent professional debut with the GCL Mets this past season, finishing in the top three on the team in doubles, RBI, and walks. Drafted as a first baseman, Carp managed to see some time at third base as well, spelling Nick Evans from time to time. Despite being a somewhat late pick considering all the accolades he earned as a high school player, scouts have compared him to some very good hitters. Prior to the draft, scouts compared Carp's swing to that of Mark Grace and Darin Erstad.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2004

Gulf Coast

.267

191

51

4

26

30

2

22

51

.358

.393


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Batting and Power. Carp has an excellent approach to hitting. Despite employing an open stance, Carp has a compact swing with good bat control. He has very good gap power and is more of a line drive hitter right now, able to rack up a bunch of doubles. Carp is a very patient hitter and is selective at the plate. He has an excellent opportunity to develop into a very good hitter with plus power as he matures. While the Grace and Erstad comparison are legitimate, Carp resembles David Wright's approach to hitting, albeit a left-handed version. Carp is a very disciplined hitter which is so rare for a player of his age. He could develop into a .300 hitter with 25+ home run power.

Base Running and Speed. For an athletically built player, Carp is not blessed with tremendous speed. He does have above average speed for a first baseman however and like Wright, is an intelligent base runner able to pick his spots. He could wind up stealing about 10 bases each year and won't hurt the team on the base paths.

Defense. Carp is a decent first baseman defensively. He has good range and soft hands. He's an average first baseman that won't win many Gold Gloves but won't be a detriment in the field either. His defense is solid enough to remain at first base.

Projection. It is way too early to tell, but right now, Carp projects to be a starting first baseman down the road and run-producing hitter, batting somewhere in either the #3 or #5 spot in a lineup. He has a long road ahead of him but he has the talent to be a top prospect someday.

ETA. 2009. Carp is just 18 years old and will be so for the majority of the 2005 minor league season. He has a ton of offensive potential but is young enough that he won't be rushed. Carp will most likely be on the five-year plan in his ascension to the Major Leagues which would put his arrival at Shea Stadium by 2009 at the tender age of 23 years old. Both Jim Burt Jr. and Tyler Davidson could skip a level next season so it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Carp could be manning first base for Hagerstown in 2005, at least until the short season leagues open up.

First Basemen

2004 Team

Craig Brazell

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Brett Harper

AA - Binghamton Mets

Jay Caligiuri A - St. Lucie Mets
Ian Bladergroen A - Capital City Bombers
Andrew Wilson A - Capital City Bombers
Tyler Davidson A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Jim Burt A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Jabe Bergeron R - Kingsport Mets
Felix Cerda R - Kingsport Mets
Mike Carp R - Gulf Coast Mets


Comments

The Mets have some decent first base prospects, especially at the lower levels. The first base prospect that seems to have the highest ceiling at this point is the Bombers' Ian Bladergroen. But don't count out Brett Harper, the son of a former Major Leaguer, as a legit first base prospect. He has the pedigree and tremendous work ethic to make it all the way to Shea Stadium. And though just early, Mike Carp from the Gulf Coast League Mets has the potential to be a rising star among the Mets' prospects in the coming years. Here's a quick breakdown the Mets' first base prospects:

1) Craig Brazell - Brazell is a good defensive first baseman with excellent power and a good stroke at the plate. His only downfall in his development has been his lack of walks. A contact hitter, Brazell has the potential to be a starting first baseman in the Major Leagues. The question is will the Mets be the team to give him that opportunity.

2) Brett Harper - The son of Major League catcher Brian Harper, Brett is a very good hitter. He hits for power and is a very patient hitter. He hits the ball to all fields and only needs to continue his hitting prowess and work on his defense at first base to become a very good prospect at first base. Brett went to the Arizona Fall League this fall to face better pitcher and work on his defense. He's out to prove that his season in St. Lucie (.350-9-55) was not a fluke.

3) Jay Caligiuri - Caligiuri is more of a project at first base after coming up through the low minors as a third baseman. He can hit for power as his 18 home runs in less than 400 at-bats in the Florida State League (a notorious pitchers' league) this past season indicate. He's a very patient hitter, willing to take a walk. He's going to have to demonstrate more consistent contact at the plate and better defensive skills before garnering more attention as a first base prospect.

4) Ian Bladergroen - The "Blade" was Mr. Everything for the Bombers before a wrist injury prematurely ended his hot hitting for the Bombers this past season. Despite playing in just 72 games for Cap City this season, he still wound up third on the team in RBI with 72. He can hit for power and average. He uses all fields and is the best defensive first baseman for the Mets among the 1B prospects playing in the long-season leagues.

5) Andrew Wilson - Wilson can flat out hit. He has very good gap power and increasing home run power as he matures. The problem is where is he going to play? Wilson was the Bombers' first baseman after Bladegroen was lost for the season with a wrist injury but also played 2B, 3B, OF, and even played one game at catcher. He was tested as a catcher in the Instructional Leagues this past September. He has the look of a really good utility player down the road that can fill in at first base if need be.

6) Tyler Davidson - Davidson is a monster physically, standing 6'4" and a very athletic 240 lbs. He routinely puts on a show at batting practice, crushing balls all over the outfield fence. The problem has been transferring that same success in BP during actual games. He's a very good hitter with awesome power and is an adequate defensive player at first base. At 24 years old, Davidson needs to show he can duplicate his lower level success at the higher levels before he can make that leap into next level of prospects.

7) Jim Burt - The son of former New York Giants nose tackle Jim Burt, Burt is a very strong guy. Not very tall (5'11"), Burt is a workout maniac in the gym. He split time at 1B with Davidson at Brooklyn this season after being selected in the 19th round in the 2004 draft. He's a good defensive first baseman that can hit for power and has excellent speed for a guy his size.

8) Jabe Bergeron - An undrafted rookie free-agent signing, Bergeron is an adequate defensive first baseman with fair range. Like Davidson, Bergeron is a really big kid with very good power. He uses the whole field when he hits and has power to all fields. He demonstrated that power by hitting five home runs in a cup of coffee with the Bombers late in the season.

9) Felix Cerda - Cerda is a good defensive first baseman that looked lost at the plate in Kingsport this past season in his professional debut. Not built like a traditional first baseman (6'0", 170 lbs), Cerda does not possess nearly the same power that the other Mets' 1B prospects have.

10) Mike Carp - Carp was drafted in the 9th round of the 2004 draft out of high school and is already drawing comparisons at a young age to David Wright for his approach to the game and at the plate. He's a powerful left-handed batter that uses all fields and has very good patience at the plate, especially for such a young hitter. He has very good power projection as he fills out.

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