Chris Carter: Astros in Your Fantasy Baseball 2015 Part 5

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Chris Carter: Trust or Bust?

Astros fans in 2014 saw the best and worst of Chris Carter. Early in the season a struggling Chris Carter was benched for 4 out of 5 games in late May. At that point of the season, Carter was hitting .192 with a .278 on-base percentage and 54 strikeouts on the season, as reported by Jose de Jesus Ortiz.

Astros fans saw the frustration in Carter’s face while he sat for those 4 games. It was May 28th, 2014, and Chris Carter was returning from his benching to have his best game of the year to that point. Playing against the Royals Carter went 2-4 with 2 home runs, 4 RBI’s, and a walk in a 9-3 win.

Carter still had a couple bad games to finish May and into June, but in July and August he exploded to show what he is capable of. In July he hit .289, with 8 home runs and 19 RBI. In August he hit .270, with 12 home runs, and 29 RBI.

What Happened in 2014 for Chris Carter?

As one can tell from the info above, the 2014 season was a tale of two Chris Carters. One was a tale of a player striking out too often who got frustrated and subsequently benched. The second tale was of a player who had a better second half than American League MVP Mike Trout.

On Monday January 26, I participated in a podcast with @Sportstimeradio in which we discussed the Astros and fantasy baseball. One of the hosts asked me specifically what to expect from Chris Carter in 2015. My response was to ask if he have Carter all year, or just when he was on his hot streak? The host said he kept him all year. I suspect with more protection this year in the lineup and if he’s sees the ball well, he will hit tons of home runs.

During the 2014 season, Chris Carter finished tied for second with 37 home runs, the person who he tied with was the Marlins $300 million player Giancarlo Stanton. While this may the only time that Carter and Stanton will ever be compared, Carter did hit those 37 home runs in about 60 fewer at-bats than Stanton.

Besides the increase of home runs with a decrease in strikeouts and walks between 2013 and 2014, not much else about really changed much about Chris Carter’s overall stats. His home runs increased by 28%, his walks decreased by 20%, and his strikeouts decreased by 14%. There was a slight increase of 9% in his slugging percentage, mostly due to his increase of 29 to 37 home runs.

The key stats to look at are Chris Carter’s second half stats compared to his first half stats in 2014. If he didn’t get off to such a horrible start, would he be a 40+ homer runs and 100+ RBI guy?

2013 WAR: 0.4

2014 WAR: 1.70

Chris Carter’s increase in WAR represents a 325% increase. Not too shabby for the Gentle Giant. Let’s hope he can be the second half Chris Carter for a full season in 2015.

Chris Carter’s 2015 Rankings

Looking at some of the rankings above, it shows how the fantasy baseball world views Chris Carter for 2015. Some views are hot and some are cold. The range of his overall ranks is between 72 and 177, which represents a difference of 105 spots between high and low rankings. That’s a rather large spread.

Chris Carter’s average ranking is 110, which means being drafted in the 11th round (10-team), 10th round (12-team), or 6th round (20-team). The earliest that Chris Carter might be taken in a standard 10-team league is 8th round and the latest is 18th.

Verdict: If you want to take a risk on Carter’s power, someone will take him in 8th or 9th round.

Chris Carter’s 2015 Projections

Looking at the rankings, most of them feel like Carter will not approach 37 home runs again in 2015. Most of these projections were done before players like Evan Gattis, Colby Rasmus, Jed Lowrie, and Luis Valbuena were factored into the Astros lineup. So it’s not hard to imagine that Chris Carter will hit a little better in 2015 with the extra support around him.

My Projections based on above projections: 0.230/ 69 R/ 33 HR/ 84 RBI/ 4 SB

Conclusion

Apr 9, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CA; Houston Astros designated hitter Chris Carter stretches in the dugout against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Carter’s overall fantasy value in 2015 depends on which Carter shows up. If first half 2014 Chris Carter shows up, he would have only been worth a late-round pick. However, if post All-Star break Chris Carter shows up, a 7th round pick could possibly hit 40+ home runs and bring in 110+ RBI’s giving you the value of a third to fourth rounder.

If you’re looking for average, on-base percentage, or stolen bases you might need to look for someone earlier in the draft. However, if Carter can somehow muster his batting average to 0.250, he might be someone you can count on in all leagues.

Verdict: Trust his power

What’s next in the series?

January 2nd, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 1: Astros Top 10 prospects

January 9th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 2a: George Springer

January 16th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 3: Evan Gattis

January 23rd, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 4Jose Altuve

January 30th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 5: Chris Carter

More from Climbing Tal's Hill

February 6th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 6: Luke Gregerson

February 13th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 7 : Dallas Keuchel

February 20th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 8: Jed Lowrie and Luis Valbuena

February 27th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 9: Colby Rasmus

March 6th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 10: Starting Rotation

Next: A.J. Hinch on Astros George Springer

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