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Chris Carter (cartech02)

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Vernon Christopher Carter

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[edit] Biographical Information

Chris Carter made his major league debut with the Oakland Athletics in 2010. In his six minor league seasons, he had led his league in multiple offensive categories three times.

Carter was signed by the Chicago White Sox and scouts George Kachigian and Joe Butler as a 15th round pick in the 2005 amateur draft. He made his pro debut that summer with the Bristol White Sox, where he hit .283/.350/.485 while leading the team with 10 home runs and 37 RBI. One problem was a .222 average against left-handers as he had a reverse platoon split. He led the Appalachian League with 7 sacrifice flies.

He spent the majority of the next season with the Great Falls White Sox and hit .299/.398/.570 while leading the Pioneer League with 15 homers. He tied Chris Valaika for the lead with 143 total bases and also led the league's first basemen in putouts (558), errors (16) and double plays (62). He was second to Daniel Dorn in slugging. He was rated the league's #14 prospect by Baseball America, one spot behind Valaika. He was chosen as the loop's All-Star first baseman.

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He was with the Kannapolis Intimidators in 2007 and batted .291/.383/.522 with 25 home runs and 93 RBIs, leading White Sox farmhands in the latter two departments. Baseball America rated him as the best power prospect and #10 overall prospect in the South Atlantic League after he finished third in homers and tied for third in RBI. He was named to the SAL All-Star team at the DH.

Following the 2007 season, Carter was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Carlos Quentin. Arizona then shipped him to the Oakland Athletics with Carlos González, Aaron Cunningham, Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland and Greg Smith for Dan Haren and Connor Robertson. Carter set the Stockton Ports team record when he hit his 32nd home run in early August 2008. As of August 30, he had pushed the record to 39. He was named the A's Minor League Player of the Year, having paced the organization's minors in runs (101), total bases (268), homers (39) and slugging (.569). He hit .259 with a .361 OBP for the season and drove in 104. He led the California League in runs, slugging, total bases, extra-base hits (75), home runs, RBI and strikeouts (156). He then launched five more homers in the playoffs, including a grand slam in the finale to help Stockton win the title. He was named the league's All-Star DH, but did not take MVP honors, which went instead to Carlos Santana. Baseball America labeled him the best power prospect and the 14th-best prospect in the Cal League, right behind another high-strikeout slugger, Greg Halman of the Netherlands. Overall, he tied Freddy Guzman for 4th in the affiliated minors in runs, led in total bases, led in extra-base hits (two ahead of Ernesto Mejia) and tied Mike Stanton for second in homers (three behind Dallas McPherson).

Carter continued to swat the ball in 2009 with the Midland Rockhounds, hitting .337/.435/.576 with 41 doubles, 24 home runs, 82 walks, 108 runs and 101 RBI, showing contact to go with the power. Moving up to the Sacramento River Cats, he hit .259/.293/.519 with 4 homers and 14 RBI in 13 games. He was again named A's Minor League Player of the Year, leading their farm chain in runs, hits (179), total bases (310), doubles, RBI (115), walks (85), OBP (.422) and slugging (.570). He led the Texas League in OBP, slugging, OPS, total bases (282), extra-base hits (67), doubles, walks, fielding percentage at first base (.993) and double plays by a first baseman (107). He was two homers behind leader Chad Tracy. Carter was named to the league's All-Star team at first base and also claimed the MVP award. Baseball America rated him as the TL's #3 prospect behind Mat Latos and Justin Smoak, ahead of Jhoulys Chacin and Brett Wallace; they also named him the league's best batting prospect and power prospect. In the affiliated minors, Carter was third in runs (behind Jon Gaston and Eric Young Jr.), led in hits (four ahead of Jack Shuck), tied Gaston for the most total bases, was second to Koby Clemens in RBI and tied for third wit h11 sacrifice flies. In the 2009 Futures Game, he hit cleanup and manned first base for the USA, batting between Wallace and Pedro Alvarez. Chris lined back to Neftali Feliz in the first, popped up versus Francisco Samuel in the third, struck out versus Luis Pérez in the 5th and drew a walk from Chia-Jen Lo in the 6th. Baseball America rated him as the #28 prospect in baseball entering 2010.

Carter began 2010 with Sacramento and hit .262/.368/.531 with 27 homers and 89 RBI after 113 games. He was third in the Pacific Coast League in RBI behind Mark Trumbo and Micah Hoffpauir and was tied with Trumbo and Brad Eldred for second in homers behind J.P. Arencibia when Oakland called him up. The big man debuted in left field, hitting 7th. He struck out twice against Doug Fister then grounded out versus Sean White in his big league debut. He began his big league career on a rough note, 0 for 33, two at-bats shy of tying Vic Harris for the worst start by a position player since the Deadball Era. He finally connected safely with a single off Scott Linebrink in late September, then managed to raise his average to .186 in 24 games. He had no such luck in 2011, as he hit only .136 in 15 major league games. He played only 75 games at Sacramento, as his season was interrupted by an injury and a subsequent rehab stint in the California League. With the RiverCats, he hit .274 with 18 homers in 296 at-bats. He did better in 2012, as he hit .239 with 16 homers and 39 RBI in 67 games with Oakland. He played exclusively at first base when he took the field that season. In spite of the low batting average, his OPS+ was an excellent 139, thanks to his power and a solid .350 OBP in a difficult hitting environment.

On February 4, 2013, he was involved in a major trade for the third time of his young career, this time heading to the Houston Astros a<long with P Brad Peacock and C Max Stassi in return for SS Jed Lowrie and P Fernando Rodriguez. he became a regular with Houston in 2013, playing 148 games, however he did not have a regular position, splitting his time between first base, left field and DH in roughly equal amounts. He hit only .223 and led the American League with 212 strikeouts, but he managed to keep a place in the starting line-up because he was the only Astro to hit for consistent power that year, slugging 24 doubles and 29 homers and driving in 82 runs for the last-place team. Carter went on a home run tear after the All-Star break in 2014. He had a decent first half, at least in terms of power, as he hit 12 doubles and 19 homers in spite of a batting average of only .205, then hit two more homers the rest of July. August was a different story, however, as he connected 11 times in his first 24 games to suddenly place himself in the top 3 in home runs in the AL. He was now almost a full-time DH, only making occasional starts at first base and in left.

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