Tag:Chris Carter
Posted on: September 30, 2011 5:18 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 6:32 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Oakland Athletics

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Oakland Athletics
Record: 74-88, 22 games back in AL West
Manager: Bob Melvin
Best hitter: Josh Willingham -- .246/.322/.477, 29 HR, 98 RBI, 69 R, 26 2B
Best pitcher: Gio Gonzalez -- 16-12, 3.12 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 197 K, 202 IP

With injuries to the pitching staff, more lack of offense, the most exciting thing happening for the A's this season came at the box office, not the ballpark. But hey, I rather enjoyed "Moneyball" -- I'd only advise going to the movie with the understanding that Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez were completely ignored. If you know that going it, it's enjoyable.

2011 SEASON RECAP

They started off losing four of their first five, but didn't give up by any stretch. In fact, the A's were 22-20 and tied for first place in the AL West on May 17. Then a seven-game losing streak sunk them and a week later they began a season-killing 10-game losing streak that cost Bob Geren his job. Bob Melvin took over and went 47-52 the rest of the way. Considering how bad the offense was and that both Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson were lost for the season, that's pretty fine work and general manager Billy Beane agreed -- giving Melvin a three-year deal.

The A's finished 12th in the AL in runs scored. They don't even get on base anymore, as the .311 OBP was also good for 12th in the AL. Meanwhile the staff ERA was the third best in the AL. So it's the same old story in Oakland. They can pitch, but not hit.

2012 AUDIT

If Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden come back strong from injuries, the A's have a very solid 1-5 rotation. Trevor Cahill will need a bounce-back season, but Gonzalez and McCarthy figure to be similar to this season. Full seasons out of Joey Devine and Andrew Bailey will make the bullpen better as well. But they were already good at pitching, as the numbers show. And they're still young enough to count on the staff being good for the next several years. So, just as it has the past several seasons, everything is going to boil down to what the A's can muster on offense. Young Jemile Weeks showed he's ready to take over at second base, but many other young players still haven't shown they can be consistent offensive threats at the big-league level. There's promise with the Chris Carter/Brandon Allen/Michael Taylor group and some prospects are getting closer to joining the fray. The 2012 season will not be a complete rebuild as much as it will be preparing for 2013.

FREE AGENTS

David DeJesus, OF
Josh Willingham, OF
Coco Crisp, OF
Hideki Matsui, DH
Rich Harden, SP
Brandon McCarthy, SP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The A's have to focus entirely on the offense and should probably make an effort to get younger instead of throwing out a group of veteran cast-offs. Sure, the "Moneyball" movie had the "island of misfit toys" line, but remember, they ignored the strong foundation of youth in place. We can't do that in real life.
  • Let Harden walk and spend the money on offense. Guillermo Moscoso and the five starters mentioned in the Audit section above give the A's enough rotation depth, not to mention if Tyson Ross can return healthy. Really, let's include the bullpen here. The pitching is fine. Bring back McCarthy and otherwise there's no reason for players outside the organization to even be considered.
  • Carter has been awful against major-league pitching, but it's only been in small samples with no consistent at-bats. At some point they need to leave him in the lineup for an extended stretch to find out if he's a "quadruple-A" player or not. Likewise, they might as well stick with Allen and Taylor, too, and just go with a youth movement offensively. Between first base, right field and DH, at least two of these three should be in the lineup everyday, in different combinations. 
  • Shortstop prospect Grant Green is going to be ready for a look soon. He hit .291/.343/.408 in Double-A. Cliff Pennington will hold down the fort in the meantime.
  • With Hideki Matsui likely to be retained, there is very little reason for the A's to bother with David DeJesus. They need to see what Taylor and Carter can do. When Matsui needs the occasional off day, you have all three young sluggers in there. 
  • I would bring Willingham back. He and Matsui can provide veteran stability to the middle of the order so that there isn't any extra pressure put on the younger guys. 
  • If anyone from outside the organization is brought in, it needs to be an on-base guy. They tried to go with patchwork quasi-power hitters and didn't work. You can't score runs if you aren't getting on base, so it's time Beane's A's go back to their roots.
  • How long until Michael Choice is ready? The A's 2010 first rounder was in High-A this season, but he hit 30 home runs with a .918 OPS. Better yet, he's a center fielder, which they'll need soon. Maybe bring back Crisp for one more season to bridge the gap?
If everything breaks right, the A's could be a serious AL West contender in 2013. The pitching staff is young and good. The offense could very well be respectable again with proper development from Weeks, Taylor, Choice, Green, Allen and Carter to go with Kurt Suzuki as a future nucleus. Plugging in veterans would only hinder the youngsters.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 1:13 am
 

A's Allen hits two tape-measure homers

Brandon AllenBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Brandon Allen hadn't hit a homer since being traded from the Diamondbacks to the A's at the trade deadline, but he made up for that with two at Yankee Stadium in Tuesday's 6-5 victory over New York.

But it wasn't just that Allen hit two homers -- it is where he hit them. His first homer, off starter Bartolo Colon in the second inning was just the second hit into the third deck at new Yankee Stadium. Russell Branyan hit one there last Aug. 21. Allen's second homer -- off of Hector Noesi in the eighth inning -- "just" went into the second deck. 

"Both had the same sound," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters (via MLB.com). "One just had a little more topspin on it. That first one, I can't imagine too many other home runs hit farther in this building than that one."

Watch both homers here.

In his 10 games as an Athletic, Allen's hit .394/.432/.758 and at least put himself into consideration for the starting spot at first base for Oakland in 2012. He doesn't have the strongest competition, as Daric Barton was the incumbent and struggled mightily before being demoted to Triple-A in June. Prospect Chris Carter has as much power as anyone, but has yet to show he can hit in the big leagues.

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 9:35 pm
 

Five teams to improve, five to decline in 2011

By Matt Snyder

Finally, spring training is concluding. Now we have a day or two before your favorite team begins play. In the meantime, I'm here to bring you the top five teams to decline and the top five to improve upon their 2010 performances. In return, you accuse me of bias and call me names. It's fun for everyone, really. One thing to keep in mind is that improving or declining by more than 10 games is pretty drastic. On some of these, I'm looking at something like a seven-game swing.

TOP FIVE TEAMS TO IMPROVE

1. Boston Red Sox. Well, let's see ... Last season Kevin Youkilis only played 102 games, Dustin Pedroia saw action in 75 and Jacoby Ellsbury just 18. Josh Beckett was either injured or ineffective all season. Meanwhile the Red Sox added Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to a team that won 89 games, despite all those injury woes -- and some underachieving from people like John Lackey. Easiest call on the board here, and even Yankees fans would have to concede this team is loaded.

2. Oakland A's. The pitching staff is stellar, even including the bullpen. The starting rotation is already really good and only getting better. The A's won 81 with one of the worst offenses in baseball last season. A full season of Coco Crisp, Kurt Suzuki bouncing back and the additions of Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham don't exactly sound like adding Gonzalez and Crawford, but small improvements will do wonders for the pitching staff. Slugger Chris Carter is waiting in the wings, too, and don't be surprised if Billy Beane adds a bat at the deadline.

3. Colorado Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki needs to stay healthy and Dexter Fowler needs to get closer to his ceiling. I'm going out on a limb that both happen, along with steps forward from Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart. Watch Jhoulys Chacin's development in the starting rotation, too. He's got big potential.

4. Milwaukee Brewers. This is contingent upon the big names staying healthy and Zack Greinke getting healthy as soon as possible, because this team is paper-thin. But the top line is very impressive. Plus, the division is not very good at all. The Brewers are going to score runs, get good starting pitching (again, assuming the health thing) and have a good back-end of the bullpen. If they can overcome defense and depth deficiencies, they'll win the Central.

5. Florida Marlins. Call it a bit of a gut call, but I really like the Marlins. The rotation really has great potential with Javier Vazquez returning to a pitcher's park in the NL East (he's apparently too intimidated by being a Yankee) and Ricky Nolasco having the ability to be a true No. 2 if he can ever stay consistent. Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad have -- again, this word -- potential to be solid at the end, with stud Josh Johnson leading the five-some. I love the outfield potential of Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton, so long as all three can stay healthy. Hanley Ramirez is primed to have a big season, too.

TOP FIVE TEAMS TO DECLINE

1. San Diego Padres. Removing Gonzalez from the middle of the batting order changes the complexion of everything. And Mat Latos is already hurt, which does nothing to alleviate the concern of the huge workload increase he's experienced over the past two seasons. Most of all, the Padres just seem outmanned by the Giants and Rockies. Winning close to 90 games seems outlandish. Of course, many people said that last year, too.

2. Houston Astros. They overachieved in a big way last season according to run differential (the 'Stros allowed 118 more runs than they scored) and aren't any better. Other than Hunter Pence, the position players are either getting old (Carlos Lee), still unproven (Brett Wallace) or just not that good (Jason Michaels, Bill Hall, Michael Bourn). I'm not a huge fan of the rotation, but it's going to have to carry the team. Good luck with that.

3. Tampa Bay Rays. This is difficult. It's hard to not love the Rays for being so good at sticking with the Yankees and Red Sox in the mighty AL East on that paltry payroll. The loss of Crawford hurts. Carlos Pena wasn't overly productive -- though he was much better than his batting average said -- last season, but his presence helps everyone else see better pitches. That goes away with Dan Johnson at first. The loss of Matt Garza isn't a big deal, so long as Jeremy Hellickson does his thing and James Shields returns to form. The bullpen is worse, though. Look, I'd pick the Rays to win the NL Central if they were in it, but the Yankees aren't any worse and the Red Sox are way better. The Orioles should be better as well. I think the Rays win in the ballpark of 86 games, but that's 10 worse than last year and good for third place.

4. Toronto Blue Jays. They're still building and are moving in the right direction, but winning 85 games again in that division is a very tall order. Any offensive bounce-back from the likes of Aaron Hill and Adam Lind is negated by Jose Bautista's return to this planet.

5. St. Louis Cardinals. If anyone can pull this off, it's Dave Duncan, but losing Adam Wainwright was a death blow. Chris Carpenter is old and injury-prone. Jaime Garcia is due a massive regression. Kyle Lohse was awful last year and Jake Westbrook doesn't have good stuff. Kyle McClellan could very well prove a solid No. 5 starter, but he hasn't exceeded 75 2/3 innings the past three seasons in the bullpen. Can he really double that and remain effective? The outfield defense won't do the staff any favors, either. The Pujols/Holliday/Rasmus combo -- and even Lance Berkman in a best-case scenario -- is very solid, but there's only going to be so much they can do on some nights. I feel like mid-to-high 70s in wins, but Duncan and Tony La Russa find ways to make people wrong often.

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Posted on: March 15, 2011 1:10 pm
 

Carter flashes power, but when will he arrive?

By Matt Snyder

Chris Carter is not a small man. He stands at 6-foot-4 and checks in at 245 pounds.

His amount of power isn't small either. The potential big-time slugger went yard twice Monday, including a prodigious shot off the left-field scoreboard. It was the first time this spring we've seen a glimpse of the kind of power he possesses, but there's more where that came from.

In 465 Triple-A at-bats last season, Carter connected for 31 home runs and 29 doubles. Since being drafted out of high school, the 24-year-old has destroyed pitching at every level of the minors, compiling 149 homers in 673 games (which multiplies out to 36 per 162 games).

Minor issues would be Carter's batting average (.258 last season) and strikeouts (138 last season in 125 games), but he's patient enough to erase those concerns. He took 73 walks in 2010, meaning his .365 on-base percentage (worlds more important than average) was vrey respectable.

Basically, it's not a matter of if the A's are going to slot his bat in the middle of the order, but when. And, boy, do they need his pop.

The A's finished 81-81 last season, yet the only teams that hit less home runs were the punchless Astros and Mariners. Only four teams had a lower slugging percentage.

With some seemingly stop-gap options in the house this season, it appears the A's are ready to relegate Carter to the minors one more season. Josh Willingam (left field), David DeJesus (right field) and Hideki Matsui (designated hitter) have been brought in. Willingham and Matsui have some power, but their ceilings aren't near as high as Carter's. Plus, Carter has already paid his dues in the minors and shown what he can do in Triple-A. He did struggle in a late recall last season, but struggling in your first 70 major-league at-bats is hardly anything unique.

The feeling here is Carter should be allowed to start at least four times a week with the big-league club to see how he can handle the majors this time around. Six years in the minors is plenty of time and he could very well be ready. If he is, he could be the centerpiece that bats like Matsui, Willingham and DeJesus support -- as none of those guys are feared enough (at least not anymore in Matsui's case) to change the complexion of the lineup on their own.

Carter will be. And it might just begin in 2011.

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Posted on: January 28, 2011 9:47 am
Edited on: January 28, 2011 1:58 pm
 

A's trying to trade for Chone Figgins

FigginsAll's quiet in baseball these days with arbitration the only story and a countdown to the beginning of spring training less than a month away.

However, if the A's get their way, there will be at least one more trade that gets the attention of the baseball world.

The San Jose Mercury News reveals that Oakland is trying to acquire third baseman Chone Figgins from the Mariners. With three years and $26 million left on his deal, the Mariners might be motivated to deal the 32-year-old for players that fit within their retooling phase. It is thought that Kevin Kouzmanoff and a pitcher would be headed to Seattle for Figgins if a trade is consummated.

Figgins had a poor debut in Seattle after years with the Angels, hitting just .259/.340/.306 although he did swipe 42 bases amid an attempt to shift to second base. With that experiment over, Figgins is slated to return to third, and the Mariners hope he can approximate his 2009 line of .298/.395/.393.

Oakland has been seeking a third baseman all winter. They chased Adrian Beltre for the second straight season and also flirted with Edwin Encarnacion, claiming him on waivers only to non-tender him. Clearly, they aren't sold on Kouz, who has a great glove but produced a .247/.283/.396 mark in his first season with Oakland, hitting 16 homers.

If the A's did acquire Figgins, he would become the perfect leadoff hitter for a club that would suddenly legitimately challenge the Rangers for superiority in the West. So far, Oakland has imported Josh Willingham, David DeJesus and Hideki Matsui to bolster the offense. However, all three are free agents next year and while the club remains at the Coliseum with no certain organizational future, it will be difficult to attract free agents to come -- or even for internal free agents to stay. GM Billy Beane has had to go the trade route in recent years to get his bats, so acquiring Figgins would add certainty to the offense over the next few years -- the club's already got plenty on its hands in filling holes after the year.

One such hole could be filled by Chris Carter, who is adamant the left-field job is his to lose -- even after Oakland acquired two left fielders in DeJesus and Willingham.

"I'm still thinking it's my job to lose, basically," Carter said. "It's a business. They want to win and make the team better. [Adding players] keeps it more competitive."

That's all well and good, but after Carter began his major league career with an 0-for-19 streak, his stock dipped in many people's eyes. He rebounded upon his September recall, but by then it was too late: he was ticketed for Triple-A again in 2010. The 24-year-old likely remains Oakland's left fielder or DH of the future, especially with the positions opening up after the year, but he'll have to serve as depth in 2011 for the A's. Even backup outfield is not an option as Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson have those spots locked down as well.

UPDATE: ESPN's Buster Olney says there could be a third team involved in the deal, with the Jays a possibility. If the Jays were able to snag Kouzmanoff, that would enable Jose Bautista to stay in right field.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: December 3, 2010 12:28 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:37 am
 

Russell Martin among those non-tendered

The deadline to tender contracts was Thursday night at 11:59 p.m., and here's the players who were not tendered contracts and are now free agents:

A's: Edwin Encarnacion, Jack Cust, Travis Buck

Angels: Kevin Frandsen

Astros: Sammy Gervacio

Blue Jays: Jeremy Accardo, Fred Lewis

Braves: Matt Diaz

Brewers: Todd Coffey, Joe Inglett

Diamondbacks: Blaine Boyer, Ryan Church, Augie Ojeda, D.J. Carrasco

Dodgers: Russell Martin, George Sherrill, Trent Oeltjen

Giants: Eugenio Velez, Chris Ray

Mariners: Ryan Rowland-Smith

Marlins: Jose Veras, Ronny Paulino

Mets: Chris Carter, Sean Green, John Maine

Nationals: Wil Nieves, Joel Peralta, Chein-Ming Wang

Orioles: Matt Albers

Padres: Scott Hairston, Tony Gwynn Jr., Luis Perdomo, Matt Antonelli

Pirates: Lastings Milledge, Argenis Diaz, Donnie Veal, Brian Burres

Rangers: Dustin Nippert

Rays: Lance Cormier, Willy Aybar, Dioner Navarro, J.P. Howell

Red Sox: Hideki Okajima, Taylor Buchholz, Andrew Miller

Rockies: Manny Delcarmen

Royals: Josh Fields

Tigers: Zach Miner

White Sox: Bobby Jenks, Erick Threets

Yankees: Alfredo Aceves, Dustin Mosley

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:02 am
Edited on: September 21, 2010 1:02 am
 

Carter finally gets first hit

Chris Carter finally got his major-league hit, and it only took 34 trips to the plate.

Carter cranked a single to left field to lead off the seventh against the White Sox after previously grounding into a double-play and walking. A thin smile crossed his lips as he stood on first and couldn't help but crack a grin as the first-base coach congratulated him.

Carter, a top power prospect, can now breathe easy that his first hit is behind him. He hammered 31 home runs for Triple-A before being recalled earlier this season as a 23-year-old aquired from the Diamondbacks for Dan Haren.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 18, 2010 7:57 pm
 

Carter continues playing despite hitless streak

Chris Carter Chris Carter has gone hitless for his first 27 at-bats entering play Saturday, but A's manager Bob Geren has no plans to bench the top prospect.

Carter, who launched 31 home runs and 29 doubles in Triple-A, has looked completely lost in the plate, working just one walk in his time in the majors. He's punched out 11 times and hit seven ground balls as compared to seven line drives and one fly. Not exactly the big-time power Carter is known for.

"I'm putting him in there because I think he's had some good swings," Geren told MLB.com , slotting Carter in left field for Saturday's game. "He's having good at-bats. I don't feel like he's struggling. He struggled last time he was here, swinging at pitches out of the zone. But he's swinging at good pitches, so I don't want to say he's struggling when he's not."

The first baseman who is seeing time in left thanks to Daric Barton's play at first, is the longest hit streak to start a career by a non-pitcher since Vic Harris went zip for his first 36 in 1972 for the Rangers. Not exactly company one wants to keep.

"He'll get his hit," Geren said. "He's a very confident, young man. I'm not too worried about him."

  -- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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