“The Animal” is Making a Lot of Noise in the Rays Outfield

 

ChrisCarter2011.jpg

 

I love it when a guy comes out of nowhere and makes a play for a spot on the final 25-man roster. It is especially exciting if that guy is one of the Spring Training non-roster invitees who is beginning to make a whole lot of noise with his play in the field, and at the plate, possibly pushing a young Rays farm system player to the side as he tries to stake a claim on a potential roster spot with the Rays for Opening Day.

Most fans who follow the Rays probably did not do a double-take or even bat an eyelash when outfielder Chris Carter signed a minor league deal with a Spring invite back on January 21st. But I took notice. Here was a guy who former New York Mets Manager Jerry Manuel called “The Animal” for his work ethic and who played 100 games for the Mets last season.

He was another of those under the radar signing by Rays VP of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman that could pay huge dividends either at the beginning of the season, or if an injury bug nips the Rays. Carter is one of those guys you want on your roster. His bat speaks loud, hitting .263 with 4 HR and 24 RBIs in his limited time up in “The Show” in 2010.


alg_mets_carter2.jpgBut if you look at his history, then you get a real view of what potential he could have as another left-handed bat for the Rays. Oh, did I fail to mention as a pinch-hitter for the Mets in 2010, he batted .328 with a solo HR and 10 RBIs. Sure he might miss the final cut due to numbers, go to Triple-A Durham and fortify a chance for a recall sometime in 2011, but this is a guy who gets hot in the early stages of the season and keeps the fires burning for the entire year.

Carter only hit .336 with 6 HR and 22 RBI before the Mets recalled him after 29 games at Triple-A Buffalo. Heck in 2009, while still in the Red Sox system, Carter had 37 multi-hit games (25 2-hit games) while leading Triple-A Pawtucket in batting average, homers,RBI,runs, hits and doubles.

Carter even had a chance to make his MLB debut against the Rays back on June 5,2009 coming in as a pinch-runner, then getting his first MLB hit off Rays reliever Grant Balfour later in that contest. Carter even has the unique distinction of hitting a 4th inning RBI double to bring home J D Drew with the first run to come across the new Home Plate in the first-ever exhibition game (4/9/2009) at Citi Field.

But this is a guy who has always hit well in the minors, and is showing this Spring that he deserves a long,hard look by the Rays as a viable candidate for an outfield position. Carter is currently hitting .412 with 3 RBI, 7 hits, and only one extra base hit ( double) and a .892 OPS. Carter even had a chance to complete a double play from the outfield in his 16 Put Out opportunities and a 11.25 RF rating, which is tied for third best on the Rays this Spring.

All the numbers point to Carter getting an extended “look-see” by the Rays this Spring, but he is currently trying to push the issue by providing spirited play and a hot bat. The problem is there is already a logjam at the outfield position with both Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon expected to get a large slice of the Left Field opportunities.

B J Upton is probably cemented in Center and Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist with an occasional Sean Rodriguez start should solidify the Right Field platoon unit. It might come down to the numbers the Rays will carry on their bench as to if Carter gets a realistic chance to gain a Opening Day roster spot.

091408_7224.jpgSo far he has done everything right, and provided some offense while former Stanford and current Rays teammate Sam Fuld has suffered at the plate. I am anxious to see if Carter can keep up his offensive number through the rest of the Spring and possibly force the Rays into a long and hard decision concerning his immediate future with the Rays. He possesses the hitting and fielding the Rays desire, but also hits from the left side of the plate like Joyce.

As you can see by the photo to the left, Carter can take the pressure. Here he was dressed up for the Red Sox Rookie Hazing as a buxom quasi-blonde, and he seems to be having fun with it all.

 

 The ultimate decision might come down after the Rays last Grapefruit League  game held on March 31st at Tropicana Field. Maybe by then Carter will know where to store his gear for 2011. Even if the answer is a ticket to Triple-A, if Carter gets off to a quick start, the noise from Durham might be deafening, and a return should be in the cards.

 

But what else would you expect from a guy named “The Animal”?

 

 




12 Comments

I hate being negative, but I believe Manny will go on the DL at some point in the season. If that happens, the “Animal” will get his chance. It’s a shame that he’s probably not going to make the opening day roster. I would love to have him on my Cubs.

Ron

http://strictlycubsbaseball.mlblogs.com/

Ron,
I think we are done working with the Cubs right now. We have already squeezed the daylights out of the farm system, we will not leave a skeleton.
But, a guy like Carter could help energize that outfield. Only problem is with the Cubs already stocked with Fukedome, Soriano, and Byrd, would Carter see significant action as a 4th or 5th outfielder?
Not sure on the Manny predicition. I still have a gut feeling he is here until the Trade Deadline….longer if he does have any type of injury setback.

Rays Renegade

OMG, he must have helium balloons stuffed in his shirt, they’re so perky!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Sue,
Not sure if it was balloons or two small dogs fighting under that tight top, but I also do not want to know.
Hazing is a great tradition. I had it done to me in college when trying to get into a Fraternity, had it again administered by the football team both in college and pros, then the cherry on top, got to do it at all three levels to someone else.
The funniest to me is still dressing up Matt Garza as a taco when he was a rookie with the Rays….Classic tongue-in-cheek move.

Rays Renegade

RR,
Good to learn about the prospects, so then I won’t be surprised when he takes Beckett deep at the trop.
peace,
Michael
http://thomasox.mlblogs.com/

Thomas,
The ironic thing here is he was a REd Sox prospect that you traded to the NY Mets in the Billy Wagner deal a few years ago.
I guess it is true that what goes around, come around to bite you in the rear end.
But I think it will be Dice-K…not sure why, but I think his tank is beginning to empty.

Rays Renegade

I occasionally monitor minor league stats from time to time, and I always see Carter among the league leaders. Funny how he has never reached elite prospect status. He has reached my prospect list in Fantasy baseball multiple times.

He should have been called up in Boston, but the depth of talent on that club was definitely his undoing. Sadly, it looks like he will have the same problem in Tampa. But I agree with you, Carter will be a force if given the opportunity stick.

http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Carter’s name sure is makin’ the rounds. I like it! Especially when it comes out of South Florida!
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Homer,
Carter would make some great noise for the right team. He has a capable bat, and a aggressive demeanor about him that shows he has a huge passion for this game.
I hope another team is keeping a close eye on him, because by hook or by crook, I would love to see him at the MLB level this season.
Hopefully he gets a chance here, but the right cards have to be dealt in front of him……plus he is a leftie..
Rays Renegade

I would have loved for the Mets to keep Chris. He was a good player for us last year and I think he would have had a shot to make the Mets considering Beltrans not being able to stay healthy. He is a gritty player and can have good power at times. I believe in the AAA for the Mets he played 1st base also. I had the chance to meet the Animal last year in Houston and he couldn’t have been nicer. A good pick up for the Rays

– Will from Put it in the Books!

Jeff,
That is a good thing when a guy’s name becomes a bit of a buzz in the league. I still remember a few years ago when Jon Weber had a great Spring, then went to Durham and eventually ended up with the Yankees for Spring 2010.
Unfortunately, he ended up in Japan again and did not crack that Yankee stronghold…Maybe they thought he was a Rays spy?…You never know.

Rays Renegade

Will,
Not sure of why Carter got jettisoned from the Mets roster. Could he have been a victim of the Manuel purge? By him signing a minor league deal with the Rays, it was not about the dollar signs.
Who knows what went down, but Carter is one of those guys to keep a close eye on in 2011….No matter where he ends up on April 1st.

Rays Renegade
http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 271 other followers

%d bloggers like this: