Mike Carp – The One That Got Away?

An article by posted on June 18, 2009

When the Mets made the trade for J.J. Putz this past off season, one of the many players they gave up included minor league first baseman Mike Carp who was jettisoned along with Aaron Heilman, Joe Smith, Endy Chavez, Jason Vargas, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera and righty pitcher Maikel Cleto.

Carp, who turns 23 on June 30, has spent the season with AAA Tacoma. In 59 games with the Rainiers, he hit .299 (63-for-211) with 16 doubles, 10 home runs and 32 RBI. He boasts a .311 mark (46-for-148) vs. right-handed pitching with an on-base + slugging percentage (OPS) of 1.026. Carp has played mostly first base this season, but has appeared in five games in left field, as well as serving as a designated hitter. (mariners.com)

Carp made his Major League debut for the Mariners last night against the Padres and drew a walk in his pinch hitting appearance. Walks are something that Carp gets a lot of these days. He has drawn 38 walks in AAA and has an impressive .417 on-base percentage to go with all those walks and his .300 average.

Carp has a .517 slugging percentage and 109 total bases. HIS OPS against right handed pitchers is a jaw dropping 1.029. He also is batting .302 with runners in scoring position.

Last season while still with the Mets, Carp set career-highs in batting average (.299), on base percentage (.403), doubles (29), homers (17), and walks (79) and won the Sterling Award as the top player on Binghamton (AA). Hit hit .314 vs. right-handed pitching with 11 home runs and 49 RBI, and was named the Eastern League’s Player of the Month for April and August.

In one memorable game for the B-Mets, Carp slugged a grand slam and a two-run homer in a 17-4 rout of the New Britain Rock Cats at NYSEG Stadium.

The Seattle Times reported that the Mariners consider him the first baseman of the future, and that future may have begun last night. That was exactly what the Mets called Carp right up until the moment he was traded.

The player team officials think could be Seattle’s starting first baseman in 2010 sure has a knack for grabbing attention.

Professional scouts spotted him setting a school record for home runs at Lakewood High School in California. Carp’s 11 home runs his senior year — breaking the previous mark by current major-league veteran Damion Easley — may not sound like much. But many were clubbed at a home park where the outfield fence was 36 feet high and 440 feet from home plate in straightaway center.

Now Carp is known more for hitting doubles. He notched 29 in Class AA last season, with 79 walks and a stellar .403 on-base percentage. The Mets were so high on the left-handed hitter that when first baseman Carlos Delgado had his option picked up, they began grooming Carp for an outfield spot.

Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said coaches were buzzing about Carp’s first day of batting practice.

He has always struggled against lefthanded pitching, although he has improved over the years, but what a nice compliment he would have been to Fernando Tatis right about now.

There’s no telling how successful Carp will be in the majors. His prowess against right handed pitching seems to be legit. He could end up being a platoon first baseman and designated hitter initially, but at 23 and with plenty of time to improve, he could end up being a solid first baseman although I don’t see him approaching star status.

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