Chris Carter (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
A couple weeks ago, Ace wrote about Houston Astros slugger Chris Carter passing the Mendoza Line. At the time, the 27-year-old was hitting .324 with four home runs and six RBIs in his last 15 games and Carter had finally brought his season average above .200.
Since then, it’s been an even better Chris Carter.
In the month of August, Carter is hitting .400 with three home runs and eight RBIs in just six games, but it’s not only the power that is improving. The slugger has also become much more patient and smart at the plate. Daren Willman of baseballsavant.com put together this chart to show what Carter has done since July 1st. Check it out:
After Carter’s two home runs last night, Willman pointed out that the Astros outfielder has had 43 hits from March 31st to June 30th (he was hitting .181 at the time), but has had 31 hits since July 1st and now raised his average to .225 on the season. Carter also has 11 home runs since the start of July and now leads the Astros in home runs, RBIs, and slugging percentage. (Okay, so he also leads in strikeouts.)
The most impressive part of Carter’s emergence has been his strike zone discipline. He recognizes pitches much better than he used to and has found a way to maximize his power potential. Astros coaches are most impressed with Carter’s improved pitch selection and ability to chose which strikes are best for him.
“I’m so proud of Chris because he’s worked his butt off,” hitting coach John Mallee told the Houston Chronicle Evan Drellich on Wednesday. “This guy, he has a strict routine that he does every day. It’s really himself coming out. He’s hitting early all the time, every day he hits early and he’s working on being short and direct to the ball. He’s watching opposing pitchers, he’s got a good plan going into the box.”
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Heading into tonight’s series with the Texas Rangers, Carter has 24 home runs and 57 RBIs on the year. I think the real Chris Carter is somewhere in-between the guy we saw the first half of the season and the guy we have seen the last couple of weeks. Either way, he is a very important part of the Astros offense, especially with George Springer and Dexter Fowler out with injuries. Carter brings a unique power and ability to change any game with one swing of the bat. That is something the Astros will need the last two months of the season if they want to stay competitive.
I’ll admit I have a personal bias towards Carter because he is my favorite player on the team. However, nobody can deny his production the last couple months. As Carter has said in the past, “you’re as good as the pitch you swing at.” Recently, Chris Carter has been swinging at the right pitches and showing that he is pretty damn good.