Desperate Times Provides Some Answers
At the beginning of the season I don’t think very many people would have thought of Mike Carp as being an offensive “weapon” in this line-up. But as they say desperate times call for desperate measures. The Mariners needed someone who was going to be able to hit and through a variety of different experiments, and spaghetti throwing contests, Carp has not only stuck but also shown the ability to hit.
Carp has so far answered in some extremely positive ways since being recalled from Tacoma the second time around. There has long been speculation that Carp could and would be a great addition to the line-up after is back-to-back years down in Tacoma. But, hesitation about his skill set and whether or not it would translate has kept the Mariners front office from giving him a consistent chance.
He’s slowly improved upon certain aspects of his game. He added more power, cut down on his strikes outs and regained some of his previously lost walks. Overall it’s been really interesting to see Carp progress over the last few years down in AAA. Not only the offensive transition but he has gone from a slow footed, error prone first basemen to being a semi competent left fielder with plenty of hard work.
While, looking at next year there are plenty of options that could be considered in left field or designated hitter on the free-agent market. But, despite the money coming off the books next season they still have contract raises (Felix) to considered as well as arbitration increases.It leaves the Mariners with limited funds to go after real “key” pieces this off-season and may need to stick with what internal options that could still provide some positive, though not overwhelming, value. Yet even if those holes do get filled by other means, Carp could still be a solid off the bench option.
The thing that we can take away from July is that Carp has shown a potential to be an every day option at the plate. Already he has accumulated 0.4 WAR in only 92 plate appearances with a wOBA of .344. Yes, that is a small sample size but outside of the slightly above average swing and misses (11.8% against the league average 8.5%) there aren’t a lot of flags that are pointing towards Carp being anything other than what he has been.
He has driven the ball a crazy 29% of the time (looking at all hitters with atleast 90 PAs Carp is second in line drive %), this also helps to explain why his (.382) BABIP is so high. He’s been able to earn walks at a slightly above average rate and while it’s unlikely that he continues such a tear, if his skill set continues true of being a guy that can consistently drive the ball, show a little bit of power and walk at an above average rate it’s likely that he could be if nothing else an average DH for the Mariners.
I get that there is more that needs to be scene with Carp but in his career 198 PA’s he’s done nothing but show his ability to drive the ball and get on base. The power needs to show up more often and I think we’d all welcome that but as long as he’s hitting there is a reason to believe that next year Mike Carp could be a regular with this team.