The Padres took outfielder Josh Carter in the 14th round of the 2001 Draft. In his first professional season, Carter struggled a lot and looked lost at times facing tougher pitching and working with a wooden bat. By year two, Carter started to put those problems behind him and seemed ready to start climbing the ladder in the Padres organization.
Carter put up strong numbers all through A ball, but it took him until 2004 to reach AA. When he finally did advance to the higher level, his numbers weren't what many in the Padres organization had hoped. This past season, Carter hit a combined .288, but hit just .235 at AA Mobile. Carter has a .282 career average in the minors and seems to have some decent skills.
Throughout his minor league career, Carter was a bit of a work in progress for San Diego. "He puts the ball in play…and that is a tough one for us," Padres' Director of Player Development Tye Waller said. "We worked with him on trying to get him to drive the ball. He came to us as a pull hitter and we got him to stay inside the ball and use the whole field. I think sometimes he stays inside the ball a little too much, almost an inside-out approach. If he can find the balance of the two, he might find something there. As a corner outfielder, he did play some centerfield, but he had been more of a corner outfielder for us. We think he is going to need that ability to either hit for a higher average to drive in runs or develop that power."
|Year / Team||HR||RBI||AVG||G||AB||R||H||2B||3B||SB||BB||KO||OBP|
|2001 Eugene (A)||1||9||.186||23||86||6||16||3||1||2||3||14||.217|
|2002 Ft.Wayne (A)||2||21||.268||77||272||28||73||10||1||5||11||33||.304|
|2002 Eugene (A)||3||9||.351||9||37||10||13||3||1||0||3||7||.390|
|2003 Lake Elsinore (A)||6||56||.300||96||357||58||107||18||3||8||32||53||.362|
|2004 Lake Elsinore (A)||1||41||.305||89||331||38||101||23||2||4||17||41||.345|
|2004 Mobile (AA)||1||6||.225||33||89||6||20||3||0||1||3||16||.258|
Batting and Power: Carter has decent skills and has developed more of an inside-out swing and uses all fields. He doesn't strike out much and will at least give some quality at bats. Carter has had to repeat some minor league levels and has progressed slower than originally thought. As for power, there's not much there and Carter was never figured on to provide power.
Baserunning and Speed: You wouldn't necessarily know it from his stolen base numbers, but Carter has some speed. He doesn't have a good knack for stealing bases, but will swipe one on occasion, although his stolen base percentage - 61% - is slightly lower than teams like to see from runners.
Defense: Carter is strong defensively, but not necessarily a gold glove caliber outfielder. He gets a good jump on the ball and has a decent arm.
Projection: Carter only has 89 at bats at the AA level. He'll need more time to progress and unless he suddenly puts it all together, AAA would be a real challenge for him in 2005.
ETA: Don't figure for Carter to contribute at the major league level anytime soon. It will likely take him at least a couple more minor league seasons to really be ready for major league action.
Comparison: You might compare Carter to another former Padre who played in Philly. Randy Ready. Neither were nothing special, but they did a decent job for their team. Carter is more of a project than Ready was, but could develop into the same kind of player.