Mariners Top 20 Prospects – #14 – Mike Carp
This is a series in which I’ll be going over my personal top 20 Seattle Mariners 2010 Prospects. As you can see, I’ll be counting them down, starting at 20, and I’ll try to do them, well, whenever I get the chance. Keep in mind that almost all of these are completely debatable, and reflect only my personal opinions.
Mike Carp is a 23 year old, left handed hitting first baseman and DH who came over in the JJ Putz trade late in 2008. He spent most of 2009 in Tacoma, though he did get a brief stint in the big leagues, in which he accumulated 64 plate appearances and hit quite well.
Carp isn’t the type of player that’s going to blow you away with any one aspect of his game. He can’t run, he strikes out a lot, and he’s well below average defensively. However, he does have his redeeming qualities:
While his home run power doesn’t quite match that of someone like Greg Halman, he certainly has the ability to provide some pop from the left side of the plate. He hit 15 home runs and ISO’d .174 in 413 Tacoma at bats this last season, while posting a .364 wOBA. Not too shabby. He also is the type of hitter that does well when transitioning into the major leagues, as most of his offense comes from his power, which should be just fine as a left-handed hitter at Safeco Field, and his ability to get on base. He posted a .372 OBP this last year in Tacoma and has drawn 137 walks over his last two minor league seasons.
While Carp certainly isn’t an overwhelming prospect in terms of talent, there is something to be said for being major league ready, and he basically is. He’s 23 years old, he already has a good approach at the plate, and he’s now accumulated over 500 triple-A plate appearances. Granted, a little bit more time in the minors wouldn’t hurt, and he’s probably going to get plenty of it in 2010, but it’s still nice to know that he’s available if needed. And availability for emergency use isn’t the only benefit of a major league ready prospect – trade value also has to be considered. Right now, Mike Carp clearly doesn’t have a place on the M’s 25-man roster for 2010, so it’s certainly within the realm or possibility that he’s considered somewhat of a trading chip. If that is the case, his value is going to be boosted by the fact that he’s already an 0.5-1 WAR player in the major leagues, as teams love acquiring major league talent in deals – especially major league talent with upside, and Mike Carp does have some upside.
Because of his butcher status in the field, Carp probably ends up primarily as a DH in the long term. In fact, the best ML comparison I can think of for Carp would be Jack Cust – left-handed, bad defense, and a lot of walks, but with slightly fewer strikeouts and significantly less power (Cust ISO’d .248 in ’07).