There was lots of discussions prior to September 1st about who to call up. Fans were clamoring for Texas to call up their top prospect Evan Carter. He had just been sent to Triple-A Round Rock and had a great first weekend. The team was struggling on offense especially with runners in scoring position. We even tweeted this out around that time.
It was clear the Rangers needed an injection of youth into the lineup. The Rangers decided to be conservative on September 1st and they called up Sam Huff and Cody Bradford and left Carter at Round Rock. It appeared that was the plan for the rest of the season for Carter until Adolis Garcia tried to take away a home run against the Astros and came down awkwardly last Wednesday night. The strained patellar tendon injury forced the Rangers' hand and they finally relented and called up Evan Carter.
He made his debut on Friday against the A's and got his first hit in his first at-bat. He also picked up his first run, his first walk, his first stolen base, and his first RBI on a sacrifice fly in the three game series against the A's. Carter is a high IQ baseball player who does not try to do too much and yet is able to do just about everything on the field.
Welcome to September baseball Evan Carter
Monday night was an complete encapsulation of his skills. He put on a show in the first five innings of against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rangers entered the series trailing the Blue Jays by 1.5 games in the wild card and 0.5 game behind the Mariners for the final wild card spot. It was very important to get this first win to set the tone for the rest of the series.
Evan Carter announced his arrival in his first at-bat in the third inning. Texas had just allowed two runs to the Blue Jays in the bottom of the second inning to give Toronto a 2-1 lead. Carter led off the third inning and did this.
An absolute blast for Carter that tied the game. He hit a cutter that had an exit velocity of 102.4mph and hit it 406 feet to deep right field for his first major league home run. That home run tied the game and deprived Toronto of any momemtum gained from a shut down inning.
That was not it for Carter. His next at-bat he came up with Josh Smith on first base and lined a single up the middle past shorstop Bo Bichette. The hit moved Smith to third base. Marcus Semien then hit a ground ball that led to Smith getting tagged out at third and Semien thrown out at first. Corey Seager then stepped to the plate in a tie game with Carter on second and two outs in the fifth. Seager lined a single to right field that allowed Carter to score from second. That gave Texas a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game.
Evan Carter's outstanding defense
That was not it for Carter on the night. In the bottom of the fifth Kevin Kiermaier led off with a double against Dane Dunning. George Springer then came up and hit a rope to left field and Kiermaier rounded third and was trying to score and tie up the game when Carter did this.
It was a beautiful throw that was right on the plate in the air and a great tag from Jonah Heim. The play was reviewed by Toronto but the out call at the plate was upheld. The Rangers held on to the 3-2 lead and Dunning was able to finish off the inning with no other issues.
The kid showed off his entire arsenal on Monday night and demonstrated why the Rangers called him up and possibly why he may never play another minor league game. He is just 21-years old, but he is mature beyond his years and is ready to contribute now. Carter has a lightning quick swing that generates high exit velocities. He has a patience at the plate that allows him to work deep counts. He is not your typical 21-year-old rookie.
I would fully expect Carter to continue to play against right-handed pitchers and be a solid contributor at the bottom of the order. He is far from a finished product and over the years will put on weight and add more power to his game. Right now he is exactly what this Texas Rangers team needs. He is a high IQ baseball player who plays great defense wherever he is placed and at the plate can tailor his approach to the situation he is hitting in.
Where is Texas now in the standings?
Texas did end up pulling away late in the game on Monday night. Jonah Heim provided the final runs when he hit a grand slam batting right-handed. It was his second home run since coming off the IL, both are grand slams. Dane Dunning pitched into the seventh inning and picked up the first win from a Texas Rangers starter since Jordan Montgomery on August 15th. Texas has now won three in a row and with the loss by Seattle on Monday night have moved ahead of the Mariners into the 3rd wild card spot. They remain 0.5 game behind Toronto for the second wild card spot and are two games behind Houston for the division lead.
Texas and Toronto play game two of the four game series tonight at 6pm. It will be Max Scherzer facing off against left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu. The game will be broadcast on Bally Sports Southwest.