Tag Archives: Daric Barton

Who are the Faces of the Franchise? AL West Edition


Continuing on with my look at each organization and their Face of the Franchise, the AL West…

  • Angels – I think that at this point, Torii Hunter has taken the mantle of the face of the franchise. He has even shown leadership (whether or not it was his choice remains to be seen) by switching positions last year for a younger player in Peter Bourjos, and likely to remain the same for Vernon Wells this year. Continue reading
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Trade Retrospective – Mark Mulder to the Cardinals


On December 18th, 2004, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired SP Mark Mulder from the Oakland Athletics for P Dan Haren, P Kiko Calero, and C/1B Daric Barton.

The Background

From my writeup on the Hudson trade, which occurred only 2 days before this trade: The Athletics were coming off another good season, which unfortunately ended without a berth in the postseason despite being tied for the AL West division lead with 3 games to go and the other team in the lead, the Angels, coming in for the last 3 games. The Angels took the first 2 games, and clinched the division. With a 91-71 record, the team was now forced to start looking at the hard fact that one of their aces, Tim Hudson, would be eligible for free agency after the 2005 season, and the team was highly unlikely to be able to afford the ace.

Moving Hudson had not been an entirely huge surprise, but the idea that they would move Mulder, who was 2 years from free agency still, seemed unlikely at best.

The Cardinals had just been to the World Series in 2004, but were swept by the Red Sox despite winning 105 games and having 4 starting pitchers with 15 or more victories during the season. The team really appeared to be in need of someone to take the ball in Game 1, and again in Game 7 if necessary.

The Moving Pieces

In St. Louis, Mulder was put into the top of the rotation along with an already excellent group which included Chris Carpenter, Matt Morris, and Jeff Suppan.

In Oakland, Haren was called upon to replace Mulder in the starting rotation, with Calero slotting into the back end of the bullpen. Barton, only 19 years old, was sent to High A Stockton to start the 2005 season.

What Happened Next

The Cardinals were extremely happy with the results that they got from Mulder in 2005, as he posted a 16-8 record with a 3.64 ERA. The team itself returned to the playoffs after winning 100 games and the NL Central crown, but were eliminated from the playoffs in the NLCS by the Houston Astros.

The Athletics were in a semi-rebuilding mode, going 88-74 in 2005 and finishing 2nd to the Angels again. Dan Haren was a key cog in this machine, as he went 14-12 with a 3.73 ERA. Kiko Calero provided a lot of value in the bullpen as well, making 58 appearances and posting a 3.23 ERA over 55 2/3 innings pitched. Barton continued to hit extremely well, posting a .317 batting average with 13 homeruns and 89 runs batted in between High-A and AA.

The Net Moves

Cardinals – First Level

  • Mark Mulder spent parts of 5 seasons with the Cardinals before retiring due to injuries. Unfortunately, the 2005 season was his last good season, and finished his time in St. Louis with a 22-18 record, a 5.04 ERA, and 166 strikeouts to 114 walks in 319 innings pitched. He last pitched in a major league game in 2008.

Athletics – First Level

  • Daric Barton is currently with the Athletics, having made his debut in 2007. In 318 games, he has hit .259/.360/.395 with 21 homeruns and 117 runs batted in. He is currently the starting 1B for the Athletics.
  • Kiko Calero spent from 2005-2008 with the A’s, and posted some solid relief innings for the team. He went 8-8 with 4 saves, a 3.96 ERA, and 147 strikeouts in 159 innings pitched. He was released on June 27, 2008.
  • Dan Haren was clearly the top prize of this trade, and spent 2005-2007 with the team. He made 1 All-Star team, starting the game in 2007 in San Francisco. During his 3 seasons, he went 43-34 with a 3.64 ERA, 531 strikeouts and 153 walks in 662 2/3 innings pitched. After the 2007 season, Haren was traded to the Diamondbacks along with P Connor Robertson for P Brett Anderson, Greg Smith and Dana Eveland, OF Carlos Gonzalez and Aaron Cunningham, and 1B Chris Carter. This particular trade will be discussed in a future trade retrospective.

Overall Reactions

This one pretty much instantaneously became a winner for the Athletics, as Haren and Calero both turned into valuable members of the teams they were on. Even if Mulder had stayed healthy, the fact that Haren was able to be traded later on for so many key players so soon after acquiring him makes this one a clear victory for the Athletics. The fact that Mulder almost immediately became injury prone just further elevated the victory by the Athletics on this one. Looking at this trade, all 6 of the players that the Athletics received for Dan Haren have either played with the team, or were used to acquire other pieces who are currently with the team. For Cardinals fans, this clearly becomes a case of what might have been. Mulder had been very good prior to the onset of his injuries, and was well on his way to become one of the game’s great starting pitchers. It is unfortunate that he was not able to continue to play, but that is also a part of the game as well.

Trade Deadline Thoughts


With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, I put out a call to some of the team-centric bloggers from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance with 3 questions each, dependent on whether or not they considered their team to be a contender or not. Below are the questions, along with each of the responses.

Note that most of these responses were received over the last week, so some may be a bit out of date with the information now known, but that has more with my inability to sit down and write it all down and not with the respondents themselves.

The Respondents

Bill Ivie from I-70 Baseball (Responses are for the Cardinals)
Daniel Shoptaw from C70 at the Bat (Cardinals)
Bee Hylinski from Contract Year (Athletics)

For Contending Teams:

1.  What would you say is your team’s most pressing need to help them get to (or stay in) the playoffs?

Ivie: I will take the opinion side of this.  I have said it for months now.  The Cardinals need some strong help in the middle infield.  When they get production and table setting from the 2b/SS position, they produce and win.  When those positions are quiet, the team loses.

Shoptaw: There are two glaring holes on this team–middle infield, most especially shortstop, and the back of the rotation.  With the hopeful emergence of Tyler Greene to replace Brendan Ryan‘s woeful production, getting another starter would seem to be the most pressing need.  The team can not continue to run out Jeff Suppan and Blake Hawksworth on a regular basis and expect to play in October.

Interesting to me is the fact that both writers agree that the Cardinals’ middle infield is pretty much a black hole in terms of offense. I’m also inclined to agree with Daniel about the fact that the Cardinals need something in their rotation, but I think they are going to have to either make a small acquisition or wait to find out if and when injured pitchers Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse will be able to return to the rotation.

2. What player(s) do you think would most effectively fit that need? Generally, these would only be players that actually have a decent chance of being traded, so no offers for Albert Pujols 🙂

Ivie: What if I want to offer for Albert…oh, wait…we got ’em.  Dan Uggla is always and intriguing name.  I also like the discussions that are suggesting Stephen Drew at SS.  Other than that, I think the market is kind of small for help, but hopefully they can find something out there.

Shoptaw: While the Cardinals would be well-suited to a Dan Haren or a Roy Oswalt, their contract situation most likely leaves them out of the crosshairs of GM John Mozeliak.  All moves must be filtered through the prism of the potential Albert Pujols extension.  Therefore, they’d much rather have someone that was a free agent after this season rather than someone taking up space in the next year or two.  You would think, in that case, they’d look for someone like a Jake Westbrook or perhaps a Kevin Millwood.

I actually really like the idea of the Cardinals acquiring Dan Uggla for a playoff run. While he is a bit expensive at $7.8 million for this season, he is under team control for next season as well, and could conceivably be moved during the offseason if they feel he will be too expensive. I actually really like the Stephen Drew thought as well, but he has more seasons under team control and would realistically cost more to acquire than Uggla. The Cardinals also seem like they would be a good team to take a risk on a Jake Westbrook/Kevin Millwood/Jeremy Guthrie type, and pair them up with Dave Duncan and let him do his magic.

3. What player(s) in your system are most likely to net you the player(s) for those needs?

Ivie: This probably is the biggest obstacle for the Cardinals.  I would say that Bryan Anderson (AAA Catcher), Mitchell Boggs (ML Reliever), and Brendan Ryan (ML Shorstop).  Brendan may be thrown in for a change of scenery and take a team that feels that is what he needs, but it will be hard to tell.

Shoptaw: What they can give up is another story.  Since they used a lot of their chips last year acquiring Mark DeRosa and then Matt Holliday, there’s not a lot on the farm.  There are potentially useful players such as Mark Hamilton and Joe Mather, along with current big leaguers Jon Jay and Allen Craig, that could be used as parts of a deal.  Most likely, St. Louis would have to take on payroll, something that ownership has said there is flexibility to do, and give away lesser quality prospects.  Expect that Brendan Ryan could be a part of a deal as well, especially if they do make a deal for a shortstop.

After looking at the Cardinals system myself, it’s pretty empty at the higher levels. The biggest name that I have heard for them is pitcher Shelby Miller, who I would assume would have to be included in a trade if they were to get themselves someone like Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren. The other thing to remember at this point is that if they acquire a player who has a longer term contract, they may start running into a problem with their payroll limits after 2011 when they will need to resign Albert Pujols.

For Non-Contenders:

1. Which player(s) on your team do you think are most likely to get moved before the deadline?

Hylinski: Pitcher Ben Sheets, notwithstanding Billy Beane’s comments that he doesn’t plan on moving anyone.  Sheets has pitched better with every start recently.  His fastball is up to the mid nineties and all his other pitchers are working more accurately.  He’s a veteran presence and great with the young pitchers.  Speaking of the latter,  if a team would give up a great player and need more than Sheets, the A’s have a plethora of young pitchers in the minors to sweeten the pot.

I really thought that they were going to move him, and that despite his veteran presence he could bring back a fair amount in return. Unfortunately, he was placed on the disabled list on Saturday, and could potentially miss the rest of the season.

2. What would you like to see the organization get in return (ie, a 3B prospect, starting pitching prospects, salary relief, etc)? Specific players aren’t necessarily a requirement, unless you see a specific good match.

Hylinski: A slugger, a 3 or 4 hole hitter who can also play in the field (not another Jack Cust, please)  Someone like Hanley Ramirez would be terrific: a young major league hitter (or major-league ready hitter) with substantial pop in his bat.

I agree that this is definitely what the Athletics need, because the lineup just isn’t good enough in terms of power. Even when Sheets was healthy, I’m not sure I saw a player on the A’s current roster that could have brought that in return. Maybe catcher Kurt Suzuki, but with him now signed to a contract extension, I don’t think he’s going anywhere for at least a couple of seasons.

3. Do you see a good fit for these players that you think could get a deal done?

Hylinski: I am not convinced that Billy Beane and the ownership will pay top dollar for a hot bat.  But that’s what the team needs.  The only 2 bats at top of the A’s minor league system (Sacramento River Cats) are Chris Carter who can only play 1st base, so unless something happens to Daric Barton who has been a hitting and field machine, he’s not coming up; and  Michael Taylor who is at least a year off.

Another possibility might be 2nd-baseman Mark Ellis (though I’d really hate to see him go).  I understand the Phillies and maybe the Red Sox are looking for a 2nd baseman.  Probably Kevin Kouzmanoff will not be traded unless the other end of the deal is too good to pass up.

I’m inclined to agree with these points also, unfortunately. With the stadium situation continuing to drag on in Oakland, and with the team possibly moving to parts unknown, San Jose, or half a dozen other places, they just seem extremely unlikely to pay to get someone like that. The two prospects Bee mentioned have unfortunately been disappointments at AAA to this point, and signs are pointing that they may actually have to repeat the level again next season.

Overall, I thought it was interesting to get the perspective of some writers who are clearly very knowledgeable about their teams, and see if their observations about their teams were similar to mine as someone who sees it a little more at arm’s length. Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions, and you should check out their blogs at the links above as well.

Also, Allen Teruel over at Prorumors.Com had a series of writeups regarding potential trade targets for each team and certain types of players as well. You can find these stories here:
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/national-league-west-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-west-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/nationals-league-central-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-central-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/national-league-east-buyers-and-sellers/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/american-league-east-buyers-and-sellers/

Here are a few Top 10 lists that can help you out too:
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-10-mlb-power-hitters-that-could-be-traded-by-july-31/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-10-mlb-starting-pitchers-that-could-be-traded-by-july-31/
http://blog.prorumors.com/2010/07/rumors/top-ten-prospects-that-could-get-traded-by-july-31/

Original Draft Series – Team # 23 – St. Louis Cardinals


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #23: St. Louis Cardinals

General Managers(since 1994)

Walt Jocketty (1994-2007): 1117-968
John Mozeliak (2008-Current): 177-147

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1 2 8 7 1 3 4 0

The Cardinals have clearly had quite a bit of success on the field, with 8 playoff appearances in 15 seasons, and the 2006 World Championship. GMs Walt Jocketty and John Mozeliak have been extremely productive, and have been aided by the help of manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Yadier Molina 2000 – 4th Rd 10 1 All Star Appearance, 2 Gold Gloves
730 gm, .267/.327/.361, 37 HR, 292 RBI, 19 SB, 203 R
Currently with Org.
1B Albert Pujols 1999 – 13th Rd 11 2001 Rookie of the Year, 3 MVP Awards, 5 Silver Sluggers
8 All Star Appearances, 1 Gold Glove
1467 gm, .332/.427/.624, 381 HR, 1162 RBI, 67 SB, 1110 R
Currently with Org.
2B Adam Kennedy 1997 – 1st Rd (20) 2 + 2 235 gm, .253/.300/.344, 6 HR, 70 RBI, 13 SB, 81 R Traded to ANA – 3/23/00
3B Placido Polanco 1994 – 19th Rd 8 489 gm, .296/.331/.385, 15 HR, 134 RBI, 22 SB, 218 R Traded to STL – 7/29/02
SS Jack Wilson 1998 – 9th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to PIT – 7/29/00
LF Rick Ankiel 1999 – 2nd Rd 10 342 gm, .251/.311/.452, 49 HR, 157 RBI, 7 SB, 155 R Free Agency – 11/5/09
CF Colby Rasmus 2005 – 1st Rd (28) 5 211 gm, .258/.329/.451, 29 HR, 86 RBI, 11 SB, 114 R Currently with Org.
RF J.D. Drew 1998 – 1st Rd (5) 5 597 gm, .282/.377/.498, 96 HR, 280 RBI, 59 SB, 355 R Traded to ATL – 12/13/03
SP Dan Haren 2001 – 2nd Rd 3 6-10, 4.85 ERA, 75 K, 39 BB, 118.2 IP, 1.416 WHIP Traded to OAK – 12/18/04
SP Jaime Garcia 2005 – 22nd Rd 5 7-4, 2.27 ERA, 74 K, 43 BB, 1.259 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP P.J. Walters 2006 – 11th Rd 4 1-0, 8.73 ERA, 24 K, 17 BB, 33 IP, 1.818 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Anthony Reyes 2003 – 15th Rd 5 10-24, 5.38 ERA, 168 K, 84 BB, 220.2 IP, 1.350 WHIP Traded to CLE – 7/26/08
SP Clayton Mortensen 2007 – 1st Rd (36) 2 3 IP, 2 K, 1 BB, 2.00 WHIP Traded to OAK – 7/24/09
RP Mitchell Boggs 2005 – 5th Rd 5 6-7, 4.84 ERA, 79 K, 65 BB, 119 IP, 1.672 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Chris Narveson 2000 – 2nd Rd 4 + 2 0-0, 4.82 ERA, 5 K, 5 BB, 9.1 IP, 1.179 WHIP Traded to COL – 8/11/04
RP Kyle McLellan 2002 – 25th Rd 8 6-13, 3.44 ERA, 139 K, 69 BB, 175.1 IP, 1.30 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jason Motte 2003 – 19th Rd 7 6-6, 3.54 ERA, 105 K, 36 BB, 96.2 IP, 1.221 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Luke Gregerson 2006 – 28th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to SD – 3/23/09
CL Chris Perez 2006 – 1st Rd (42) 3 4-4, 3.72 ERA, 72 K, 37 BB, 65.1 IP, 1.347 WHIP Traded to CLE – 6/27/09
BN Daric Barton (1B) 2003 – 1st Rd (28) 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to OAK – 12/18/04
BN Skip Schumaker (2B) 2001 – 5th Rd 9 511 gm, .293/.349/.388, 16 HR, 119 RBI, 16 SB, 239 R Currently with Org.
BN Brendan Ryan (SS) 2003 – 7th Rd 7 334 gm, .268/.325/.365, 9 HR, 74 RBI, 32 SB, 133 R Currently with Org.
BN Tyler Greene (SS) 2005 – 1st Rd (30) 5 58 gm, .224/.273/.336, 12 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 4 SB Currently with Org.
BN Joe Mather (OF) 2001 – 3rd Rd 9 81 gm, .228/.282/.422, 8 HR, 20 RBI, 2 SB, 24 R Currently with Org.
BN Nick Stavinoha (OF) 2005 – 7th Rd 5 111 gm, .240/.262/.352, 4 HR, 27 RBI, 17 R Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Cardinals have had quite a bit of success on the field in the last 15 seasons, and as a result they have not had a lot of early picks in the first round of the draft. In the 15 previous drafts (not including 2010), they have had 25 picks, with only 2 picks in the top 10 (J.D. Drew and Braden Looper). Overall, the first round has brought them some reasonable success, as they have drafted players like Matt Morris, J.D. Drew, and Colby Rasmus in the past. Clearly, the biggest victory of all draftees is the one taken in the 13th round of the 1999 draft, Mr. Albert Pujols. Unfortunately, beyond him, there has only been even 1 All-Star Appearance by any of these players while they were with the organization. 22nd round pick Jaime Garcia could change that this year, as he is having an excellent season so far. Overall, the Amateur draft has had some solid picks, but overall they haven’t done a whole lot with the draft.

International Free Agency

I was surprised to find that none of the players I selected were international free agents. Not a single one of them. Digging into Baseball America’s Top 10 prospects for the team, only 1 of the top 10 (Eduardo Sanchez) was signed out of an international market. The team does pretty well with their ability to find good professional free agents, so this has not really been a glaring miss to this point. At some point though, I would have to imagine that they are going to need to improve their scouting and development areas with regard to the international markets, as they are missing out on some talented players.

Overall Grade

C-. The Cardinals clearly are being carried by their best player, Albert Pujols. But if you take him out of the picture, you have a lot of players who have not done a whole lot with the Cardinals. And while they have traded quite a few of these players for key pieces to their success (Barton, Perez, Mortensen, Polanco), many of them didn’t really see any particular level of success with the Cardinals themselves.

Team Preview – Oakland Athletics


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Kurt Suzuki SP 1 Ben Sheets
1B Daric Barton SP 2 Justin Duchscherer
2B Mark Ellis SP 3 Brett Anderson
3B Kevin Kouzmanoff SP 4 Trevor Cahill
SS Cliff Pennington SP 5 Dallas Braden
LF Rajai Davis Bullpen
CF Coco Crisp CL Andrew Bailey
RF Ryan Sweeney RP Brad Ziegler
DH Jack Cust RP Joey Devine
Bench RP Michael Wuertz
IF Jake Fox RP Craig Breslow
IF Eric Chavez RP Gio Gonzalez

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
3B Kevin Kouzmanoff Trade (SD) OF Aaron Cunningham Trade (SD)
SP Ben Sheets Free Agency OF Scott Hairston Trade (SD)
IF Jake Fox Trade (CHC)

Top Prospects: Chris Carter (1B), Michael Taylor (OF), Michael Ynoa (P), Grant Green (SS), Max Stassi (C)

2009 Review

The Athletics came into the 2009 season with the hopes that they would be able to compete in what appeared to be a weakened AL West. They had made the blockbuster trade to acquire OF Matt Holliday in the offseason, and had made some potentially excellent value signings in SS Orlando Cabrera and 1B Jason Giambi. However, the team was once again decimated by injuries, and quickly fell out of contention. By July, the discussion was when the A’s would trade free-agent-to-be Matt Holliday, not if. They were able to get some solid return on trades including Holliday and SS Orlando Cabrera also.

The A’s did have some bright spots during the season. SP Josh Outman pitched well (4-1, 3.48) prior to getting hurt. SP Brett Anderson (11-11, 4.06) and SP Trevor Cahill (10-13, 4.63) both pitched well in their first full season. The standout, to be sure, was AL Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey (6-3, 1.84, 26 sv). On the offense, OF Rajai Davis (.305, 41 SB) and C Kurt Suzuki (.274, 15 HR) were the shining stars.

Team Outlook for 2010

As has been the problem in recent years, again coming into 2010 the A’s look strapped for offense. They are hopeful that IF Eric Chavez will be able to provide some production, whether it be at 3B or somewhere else on the diamond. They brought back OF/DH Jack Cust, who should continue to provide some solid power, even at the cost of a low batting average. A full season of SS Cliff Pennington and OF Rajai Davis will also be a welcome addition.

This really looks like a team that could compete, but only if everything falls their way. They need an All-Star caliber season out of free agent signee Ben Sheets, and improvements across the entirety of the pitching staff. They need 1B Daric Barton to return to the form that made him a top prospect. And they need pretty much everyone else in the lineup to improve again this season, whether it be through health or through better production. If this doesn’t happen, look for the A’s to deal Sheets, and potentially Justin Duchscherer as well at the trade deadline.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

The A’s are a bit shallow when it comes to fantasy talent. C Kurt Suzuki, OF Rajai Davis, SP Brett Anderson and CL Andrew Bailey are probably the top talents. SP Ben Sheets remains a very high-upside, high-risk player, but could definitely pay off for fantasy owners. In deeper leagues, 2B Mark Ellis and SS Cliff Pennington could potentially provide value, as well as SP Dallas Braden and Justin Duchscherer.

Prediction for 2010

The A’s simply haven’t gotten better by enough in my opinion to make a legitimate run at the division title. The rest of the division is simply too much better at this point. They will do well to continue letting their top prospects develop, and hopefully will compete in 2011.

79-83, 4th in the AL West

Prospect Review – Chris Carter – 1B – OAK


Baseball Reference.Com Profile
Fangraphs Profile

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Via trade with the Diamondbacks (Dec. 2007) as a part of the Dan Haren trade.
Age: 23

Statistics

2008 – Stockton (California League – A’s High-A) – 137 games

  • .259/.361/.569
  • 39 HR, 104 RBI, 4 stolen bases
  • 77 walks, 156 strikeouts
  • .296 BABIP

2009 – Midland (Texas League – A’s AA) – 125 games

  • .337/.435/.576
  • 24 HR, 101 RBI, 13 stolen bases
  • 82 walks, 119 strikeouts
  • .406 BABIP

2009 – Sacramento (Pacific Coast League – A’s AA) – 13 games

  • .259/.293/.519
  • 4 HR, 14 RBI, 0 stolen bases
  • 3 walks, 14 strikeouts
  • .278 BABIP

2009 Totals (2 levels) – 138 games

  • .329/.422/570
  • 28 HR, 115 RBI, 13 stolen bases
  • 85 walks, 133 strikeouts

Rankings
Baseball America – #1 (OAK – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – #1 (OAK – 2010) – 5 star
John Sickels – #1 (OAK – 2010) – A-

Analysis

Carter was acquired in the Dan Haren trade following the 2007 season, and has been nothing short of an amazing prospect since then. He spent 2008 in the hitter-friendly California League, posting a league-leading 39 homers and 104 RBI. 2009 was no different, posting 24 HR, 101 RBI and a .337 average on his way to winning the Texas League MVP.

Carter is known for his prodigious power, posting slugging percentages over .500 at each level. He also has solid plate discipline, and is able to draw a walk at a reasonable rate. I don’t foresee him hitting for the kind of average he did at AA again, as it was inflated by an extremely high .406 BABIP. I have to imagine that the real thing lies somewhere closer to his .259 average at AAA.

The main question with Carter seems to be where he can play in the field. The Athletics played him mostly at 1B last season, although he has also seen at least a little time at 3B, LF, and DH as well since entering the A’s system. His fielding would probably considered average at best there, and profiles to have him giving way at 1B to a better fielder at the Major League level.

Carter could really use a consolidation year at AAA, where he could work on cutting down his strikeout rate a little more. He has been striking out between 25 and 30% of all plate appearances in the last 2 seasons, and will probably want to cut that down to help improve his average slightly. The only concern I would have about that is that it may affect his power by being a bit more selective. As long as it doesn’t impact that too much, I could see him becoming a 30+ HR hitter on a yearly basis in the Majors.

Outlook

Carter will hopefully start the season back with AAA Sacramento, potentially leading to a mid-season callup. The A’s definitely have a use for his power bat at the Major League level, but they already have one player who really should only be used as a designated hitter (Jack Cust), and another prospect at first base (Daric Barton). If Barton struggles out of the gate again like he has in the past, I could definitely see Carter getting a much earlier callup. Regardless, I have to imagine he’s going to be playing in Oakland before 2010 is over.

Projection for 2010

.265/.350/.520, 10 HR, 52 RBI (AAA)
.255/.340/.500, 10 HR, 40 RBI (Majors)

Expected ETA

2010. No later than July or August.

Tomorrow’s Prospect for Review – Jaff Decker (OF) of the San Diego Padres