No, not that Chris Carter. This Chris Carter looks like Ryan Howard. In every possible way. He strikes out a lot. He hits a lot of homers. He talks to Turtle about tequila. He weighs 230+ el-bees. He stands six foot five. He once finished off a grand slam 7 hours after the last pitch of a game thanks to Denny’s. You know that bar game Picture Perfect where you try and pick out the differences between two pictures that look nearly identical? You could have Ryan Howard on one side and Carter on the other side and stump the soberest of men. In 2010, Carter hit 31 homers in Triple-A and batted .258. Then in a short stint in the majors, Carter had only 13 hits in 70 ABs for a .186 average, but three of those hits were homers. Sure, Carter farted up those numbers, but, to clear the air, it was a small sample size and he did something similar in his first taste of Triple-A and straightened that out in time. So what can we expect of Chris Carter in 2011 fantasy baseball?
Homers and a terrible average. Any guy who only hits .258 in Triple-A is not someone that will compete for a batting title. To follow the previous comparison, Ryan Howard hit .299 in 1855 ABs in the minor leagues. (BTW, Ryan Howard probably missed at least two productive years being in the minors and might already be approaching 400 homers. Not that 400 homers means anything anymore.) So, yo, yo, yo what’s the best case scenario for Chris Carter in 2011? Carlos Pena. Carter could get lucky and hit .240-.250 next year, but I think it’ll be closer to .220. His plate discipline isn’t bad once he gets comfortable at a new level, but his Ks are wild, man, wild. 30 homers wouldn’t be out of the question though if he gets a full season of ABs and, if I had my druthers, and knew what druthers were, I’d give him the job out of Spring Training. More likely, Carter comes up around June 1st once the A’s settle into their familiar spot of “We’re in third place and aren’t sure if we’re in the pennant race or not, but really we’re not.” In 400 ABs, Carter’s line would be 35/22/55/.225/3. In keepers, he’s worth drafting very late if you have room to wait for him. In mixed, redraft leagues, he’s passable unless your league requires you field at least one Ryan Howard-lookalike.