August 8, 2012
Chris Carter's Mechanical Remedy
There is an old adage about the Red Sox needing 25 cabs for 25 players since the team could not get along. That phrase may need to be updated to reflect the 2012 Oakland Athletics, who may need 25 stories for 25 players; there are just so many fascinating stories in Oakland these days. Spiderman Reddick, the surprise young pitching staff, Yoenis Cespedes showing how his core strength translates at the major league level, Coco Crisp becoming Mr. Walk-Off, and Chris Carter hitting everything out of the ballpark since his umpteenth recall from Sacramento. Carter’s 2012 campaign is just one of many fascinating story lines in the successful season the Oakland Athletics have had thus far in 2012.
Carter’s minor league exploits are well-documented. He was ranked the 76th-best prospect by Baseball America in 2009, made his way up to 28th in 2010 before dropping down to 91st in 2011 and exiting off the list this season. Carter never had a slugging percentage under .500 once he left rookie ball in 2005 and had spent nearly 1300 plate appearances in Triple-A before his most recent recall.
While Carter continued to produce numbers in the minor leagues, his time in the majors was anything but impressive. He began his career with 33 consecutive plate appearances without a hit and struggled throughout his time in the majors in 2010 and 2011; pitchers quickly found the holes in his swing and exploited them. Specifically, pitchers quickly discovered that Carter had trouble covering the outside corner and was susceptible to breaking pitches, as his career hitting profile illustrates:
In 2010, he swung at nearly half the pitches he saw and struck out swinging 21 percent of the time, according to statcorner.com. That swing frequency continued in 2011, but he struck out swinging more frequently (30 percent).
It is tough to convince someone who has been so successful in the minors that he had to change, but the major league results spoke for themselves, even in a small sample size.
Carter’s player profile in the Baseball Prospectus 2012 had this to say about the slugger: