The Houston Astros are surging, having taken two of three from the A’s to start the week, but as long as Chris Carter is struggling at the plate there will be questions surrounding his future with the team. Carter is batting a paltry .167 this season while homering seven times and driving in twenty. In the last seven games however, Carter has shown glimpses of coming out of his slump.
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Carter is a career .217 batter which isn’t good in it’s own right, but also sets a low bar for Carter to reach. Give him a couple of hot weeks and he should be right back to Carter-esque levels. In his last seven games, Carter is 5-for-21 (.238) with two home runs, a double, five walks and eight rbi. That’s right, a week ago he had just twelve rbi. That also shows how quickly he can have an impact on this team.
While this production line isn’t quite second half of 2014 Chris Carter, with how well the Houston Astros are performing of late he’s just taking his turn to carry the team to a victory here and there, and that’s all he really needs to do. Part of our disappointment in Carter’s production this season is likely because he has been the stud in the lineup in recent years, outside of Jose Altuve. He’s the familiar face, and he’s coming off of an MVP caliber second half. While he’s struggled out of the gate, the team has carried on just fine. Whether or not that bodes well for Carter down the line remains to be seen, but it’s nice to know that the team can survive without one of, if not its best, power hitters constantly crushing the ball.
This isn’t to say that Chris Carter isn’t flawed. Could this just be the player that we see all season? Of course it could be. But sometimes the threat of Carter in the lineup is just as powerful as having him in top form. Look at how recently-vanquished Oakland has fared since they traded Yoenis Cespedes away at the deadline last season. While some may argue that last season’s collapse was due to injuries, there is a camp that believes that the A’s lineup wasn’t as feared without Cespedes in the mix to protect the other hitters.
Carter’s recent surge comes at a great time for him, and for Astros’ fans, with Jon Singleton mashing the cover off baseballs with Fresno. In his last ten games, Singleton has raised his average from .238 to .282, batting .410 during the stretch. His batting average is now higher than it was when he was called up last season (.267) while his on-base percentage is a touch below at .397. We’ve gone over his power numbers recently, but in case you’ve missed them, he’s hit five homers and driven in 24 runs in these ten games.
If Carter’s streak continues, we could see some resolution on the will-they-won’t-they trade front. While it would be fantastic to have both Singleton and Carter on the 25-man roster at the same time, that just isn’t feasible without Carter moving to the outfield, which is crowded enough as is. When the time is right for Singleton to get another look, Carter may have to be moved to make room, so stay hot Chris Carter!