Fantasy baseball sleeper: No respect for Chris Carter?


Image of Chris Carter carrying a bat at Houston Astros spring training camp.
Fantasy owners can expect Chris Carter to carry a big stick for the Astros in 2013. (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle)

On February 4, the Houston Astros sent shortstop Jed Lowrie to the Oakland Athletics. Most fans knew Lowrie’s time was limited in Houston, but what they might not know is they received a potential star in return.  Chris Carter (AKA Vernon Christopher Carter) came along with a few prospects back to Houston. I’m not going to lie, like most, I saw the trade and thought “eh.” We all moved on with our lives and probably never realized the impact this trade could have this season in fantasy baseball. (Speaking of fantasy baseball, sign up for TTFB’s free fanstasy contest — the winner gets $20! But, I digress.)

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So, who is this Chris Carter you speak of? I’m glad you asked.

Carter was drafted in 2005 by the Chicago White Sox in the 15th round. In 2007, he was traded to the Arizona Diamonbacks for Carlos Quentin. Eleven days later, the Diamondbacks sent him to Oakland in a massive eight-player deal that featured Dan Haren and Carlos Gonzalez (CarGo). And just recently, he shipped to the Astros. He’s obviously thought highly of, as he’s been a part of big trades featuring star players. He’s a former top MLB prospect that Baseball America placed at #76 in 2009, #28 in 2010 and #91 in 2011. Let’s examine his minor league stats:

YearTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLG
2005BristolAPPYRkCHW652622333366170103721764.283.350.485
20062 Teams2 LgsRk-ACHW823462974181241166443987.273.373.522
2007KannapolisSALLACHW126545467841362732593367112.291.383.522
2008StocktonCALLA+OAK13759650610113132439104477156.259.361.569
20092 Teams2 LgsAA-AAAOAK138651544115179432281151385133.329.422.570
2010SacramentoPCLAAAOAK125551465921202923194173138.258.365.529
20112 Teams2 LgsAAA-A+OAK813723205889182217954693.278.371.544
2012SacramentoPCLAAAOAK723242764877191125353874.279.367.486
8 Seasons826364731085728792091518263937442857.283.378.535
AAA (4 seasons)AAA285127710912022926856523311156311.268.363.518

Why wasn’t this guy up sooner? In 2009, between double-A and triple-A, he clubbed 43 doubles, 28 home runs, 115 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and batted .329. What am I missing here? He’s at least better than someone on that Oakland team …

He played in 24 games in 2010, 15 games in 2011, and finally got in 67 games in 2012. That’s it, 67 games. But in those 67 games, he batted .239/.350/.514 with 16 home runs and 39 runs batted in. Not too shabby for only 67 games. Carter is a classic power hitter; he’ll swing for the fences or die trying. He plays first base, and from what I hear, he’ll play some outfield and DH for the new American League team. Three-position versatility makes him that much better for fantasy baseball. My prediction for a full season:

High: .265/.360/.533 with 40 home runs, 94 runs batted in, 35 doubles, 185 strikeouts.
Low: .240/.352/.524 with 35 home runs, 75 runs batted in, 35 doubles, 220 strikeouts.

Those are full-season predictions. I believe the Astros will give him the shot he deserves. He very well may hit 40 home runs, even in a down season. He has tremendous power, and expect him to hit in the middle of the order. If your league doesn’t count strikeouts against you, he’s a great pickup that you’ll find low on the draft boards.

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