Chris Carter has apparently been spending all of his time walking, striking out and hitting home runs for the Houston Astros.
Last night in the Astros’ 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox, Carter had a stat line that pretty well sums up his 2013. The 26-year-old was 0-for-2 with with two walks and a pair of strikeouts as he surged past 100 punchouts on the season. So far in 2013, Carter has K’d 101 times in 262 plate appearances, or nearly 39 percent of the time that he strides to the plate.
Even by Carter’s standards, that’s impressive. Last season, he struck out 83 times in 260 trips to the plate, or a slightly-less-ridiculous 32 percent of the time. Unsurprisingly, the power numbers have remained relatively constant as Carter has swatted 14 home runs in 2013 compared to the 16 he finished with last year. It’s worth noting, however, that he has hit nine of his 14 home runs on the road.
Carter’s average is also down from .239 to .215, but what’s far more striking is the drop in base on balls. So far for the Astros, Carter has drawn 27 walks whereas he tallied 39 in 2012. Decreased walk-rate aside, when you add it all together, Carter either walks, strikes out or homers 55 percent of the time he bats. That’s not quite Jack Cust‘s 57 percent with the Oakland Athletics in 2008, but it’s pretty remarkable.
Perhaps the most absurd aspect of Carter’s 2013 campaign, however, is how good he’s been on the road, and how terrible he’s been in Houston. To be precise, he’s hitting .270 with a .900 OPS on the road while batting .159 with a .575 OPS at the supposedly hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park.
Carter is a mysterious man. He kind of did this last season for the A’s when he hit 11 of his 16 home runs away from the admittedly spacious O.co Coliseum. Maybe it has something to do with how well-traveled the right-handed slugger is.
Whether or not Carter is in Houston for the long haul (and based on his home/road splits, maybe he’d rather not be), it should be interesting to see what he can do with a full season of at-bats, an opportunity he was never afforded in Oakland. I’m predicting that Carter will hit .220 with 28 home runs, 68 walks and 703 strikeouts.