It's Monday, it's slow at work, and the fact that there will be no A's baseball again until february is depressing me so I wanna talk a little about Chris Carter and what he might add to the 2011 Offense. Let me go on record as saying I DO NOT in any way think Carter is going to come in next year and single handedly make this teams offense legitimate. However, I took a look at his numbers last night to see how he fared after opening the season 0-33 and liked what I saw. He was noticeably more comfortable at the plate, and that showed in the results.
It's never been a question of whether or not Carter was going to need some adjustment time at the Major League level, that has always been obvious. He has always needed a decent amount of at-bats to get going after a promotion to a new level so the fact that he started off slowly I really don't think suprised many people (although 0-33 definitely did suprise some people). A couple of games after his 2nd promotion to the bigs, and a few games prior to him actually collecting that first hit he started looking much better. He was working the count more, staying back and laying off more off-speed stuff, and putting some really good swings on the ball. Then he got his first hit, and just like I (and many others) expected, he got on a pretty good roll the next 38 AB's to end the season. A pretty good roll to the tune of a .342/.422/.605 slash line with 3 HR's and 7 RBI. He also cut down on the K's with 8 compared to 13 in his first 33 AB's. He also walked 6 times over this same period of time. Now obviously this was a small sample size, and when you stretch that line out to include his 0-33 prior, it doesnt look too nice (.186/.256/.329).
So, my question to AN is, what should we reasonably expect out of Carter in 2011 and beyond that over the course of his career? I realize that this season was such a small sample size so it's impossible to have a great idea of what he'll do, but many of us have seen and know more about him now then we did this time last year and personally, i'm quite encouraged after watching him lately. For such a big guy, he has such a nice and short, compact stroke to go along with a good amount of bat speed. He's always gonna be vulnerable to off-speed stuff, but I think he also showed he can lay off some pretty good breaking pitches. He just has that "look" at the plate like he belongs, and will be legit at the MLB level.
Can we count on him to bat in the 5 hole next year behind a nice, new # 3 and/or #4 hitter in the lineup? With some further development offensively from some of the other young guys on the team (Barton, Pennington, Suzuki) will this team be able to compete if Beane only manages to add one more bat to the current group? What's your thoughts folks??