Yes, he hit 3 HR's in 3 straight at bats. In Spring Training. Should he be in the opening day roster because of that?
(He should be considered for the opening day roster because of all the other stuff, not just 3 AB).
The number of people jumping on the Carter bandwagon has increased because of his ST performance. It's all nice and all that people are paying attention to him, but even before ST, what could be expected from him?
Scouting report and Minor League Data (link)
Scouting: "Extremely intelligent, Carter is a real student of hitting, and has demonstrated success with the bat at every level. Excellentpower with the potential for more. Hits for average and consistently gets on base at a very good clip. Hits lefties and righties well. Below average speed. In the field, Carter has spent much of his career at 1B but was moved to the outfield in 2008. He has always been known as a poor fielder, and still doesn't look particularly comfortable at any position. He has focused on his glove and footwork and has improved slightly, but still not enough. " SoxProspects - summer/2009
"Chris Carter was dealt to the Red Sox from the Diamondbacks via the Nationals much for the same reasons Wily Mo Pena was dealt from the Red Sox. He was roadblocked. He has some similarities to Pena's game, interestingly enough. Carter has power to all fields, but has much more upside than Pena because he has spent time developing his swing in the minors and has a keen eye for the strike zone. Carter is a below-average defensive player who has spent most of his time at first base. His lefthandedness helps his reach to the bag, but his glove is far below current Red Sox infield standards. As a leftfielder he has seen fairly limited time and has a weak arm and poor range. He will fit into the Sox farm system right away with his exceptional grasp on the game and smart instincts both on the basepaths and at the plate. His speed is slightly below average, but his instincts help to make him a solid runner on the basepaths. His above average build makes him a prime candidate to catch fielders off guard with the occasional delayed steal. In 2007, he has reached based at a near even clip against both righties and lefties and can certainly work the count against each. He has shown great poise with runners on base as much as a minor leaguer can. His conditioning makes him very durable throughout a full season of games and with some more seasoning could be hitting 15-22 home runs in a major league lineup in 2 years, but may be stuck behind David Ortiz as DH in the Sox system, as he was stuck behind Connor Jackson in the Diamondbacks system, but we could see him as soon as September in a limited bench role. Could fill in for the Red Sox in 2008 in a bench role a la Eric Hinske if he works on his defense. Carter also had surgery after the 2006 season to his ailing right wrist that was aggravated by his gripping of the bat. He had his unciform bone removed along with torn cartilage." - Sons of Sam Horn - August/2007
According to Rubin, "Carter does have a minor-league option remaining, so there’s also a pretty good chance he’s with Triple-A Buffalo." In regards to Carter’s swing, Ade writes, "I haven’t seen a minor leaguer with a sweeter power swing since Ryan Zimmerman came to Savannah." - Source Metsblog/LobbyNews
He doesn't have a huge platoon split, getting on base at the same rate against L and R. The difference is his power translates better against R pitching.
Although he has played mostly 1B/DH in his minors, in the last 2 years he played more corner OF (137 games) than 1B (11 games) or DH (91). Keep in mind the 1B/OF Diamondbacks/Red Sox depth.
TotalZone evaluated him as -6 and -8 runs below average in 1B in 2006 and 2007 (-9 and -15/150 games), but he was better at LF (+6 in 2008, +11/150) and RF (-1 in 2009, -3/150).
One scouting report mentioned his "stone hands", that could partially explain his worse performance at 1B than COF. I couldn't find the link though. (Insert snark remark how inept the Mets front office is for asking Carter to compete for the 1B job).
Here is the thing, we only have TotalZone numbers (no UZR or plus/minus to compare), minor league numbers are less reliable then major league data and the sample size is small. I would guess at corner OF he is around -5 defense. One certain Fangraphs article mentioned "9.26 RF/G" to say he was a good defender at 1B, but let's ignore that.
So, taking another approach, how much could his defense be bad to equal say Francoeur. There is a zero chance for him to start at RF and he isn't even the front-runner for the last bench spot. This is merely a comparison of value.
CHONE projects him to hit .276/.337/.452/.789 or wOBA of .344 and wRC+ of 111. I tried to find how CHONE projections are made or methodology comparisons or something, but let's stick to a short description for now: "(CHONE) uses four years of weighted numbers, runs a regression, adjusts for age, and then makes some common-sense tweaks to the playing time forecasts" link. Converting wOBA to wRAA (offensive runs above average) using the formula ((wOBA – lg wOBA)/Scale) * PA, for 600PA, we get 7.3 wRAA. If we compare to Francoeur's projected wOBA of .327 and wRAA of -1.5, Carter's defense would have to be worse than Francoeur's by 8.8 runs to match his production.
Taking into consideration Park Factors, Citi Field dimensions, HitTracker lucky homers/just enoughs at Citi Field, Gameday BIP Location and MinorLeagueSplits spray chart, it seems lefties with pull power, like Carter, would benefit from the park. Murphy, Ibanez and Utley all lead the "lucky homers" category in Citi Field.
Park Factor (1 year)
Gameday BIP Location
Carter's spray chart
Speedy hitters with gap power have their triple numbers increase, like Pagan. On the other hand right handed hitters with line drive swing and gap power will have trouble hitting HR's (opposite field and left center). Wright and possibly why the Mets didn't pursue Matt Holliday (insert snark comment here about the dysfunctional Mets front office).
Carter's offensive production should be enough to earn him the last bench spot, based on his handedness, competition, minor league numbers and CHONE projection. His defense might not be as bad as people think, specially at the corner OF. And his slugging numbers might benefit from Citi Field configuration. Though, in all likelihood he'll be sent back for yet another year in AAA.
Q&A with Chris Carter - August/2009
Carter spotted opportunity - April/2009
A tale of two Chris Carters - May/2009
"The Animal", "don't touch my bat", hard working, shows up early for training (kinda stuff here)
Chris Carter makes the team: +10% GKR Drinking Game beverage consumption, +5% comments about Touch Down and +130 wMSPF (weighted mspaintz fanshot) about the X-Files.
Notes: replaced the BIP image for the correct one. Added meme line.