After an embarrassing, comprehensive sweep at the hands of the rival Astros put their once-promising season on the brink, the Texas Rangers are hoping that their top prospect can help stop the bleeding amid a second-half swoon. The bad news: Outfielder Adolis Garcia has been put on the injured list with a knee issue. The not-so-bad news: In Garcia’s place is Evan Carter, the team’s top prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 overall.
The Rangers are calling up No. 1 prospect Evan Carter to debut on Friday against Oakland.— kennedi landry (@kennlandry) September 7, 2023
In Double-A Frisco (97 games): .284/.411/.451
In Triple-A Round Rock (8 games): .353/.436/.382
Expecting Carter to step in and immediately replace Garcia’s middle-of-the-lineup production (.817 OPS, 34 homers) is silly, but it’s certainly not bad as far as injury replacements go. The 21-year-old wasn’t heavily scouted out of high school, slipping to the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft, where Texas scooped him up at 50th overall. He immediately made that slide look silly, blitzing High-A and Double-A to the tune of a .295/.397/.489 slash line last season while being named the Rangers’ Minor League Player of the Year. He was great again in a repeat performance at Frisco, eventually earning a promotion to Triple-A last month — where he’s hit .353 over his first eight games.
Evan Carter crushes his 12th home run of the year for the @RidersBaseball over the lazy river!— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 6, 2023
The top-ranked @Rangers prospect is 5 for his past 10 after this two-run dinger: pic.twitter.com/3ffl8TcvOi
Surely Texas would’ve loved to hold off on throwing him into the middle of a pressure-packed AL West race as a rookie, but it’s hard not to feel like this is a make-or-break point for the team’s season: After losing 11 of their last 15 games, the Rangers have gone from division favorites to a half-game out of the third and final AL Wild Card spot. The pitching has been among the league’s worst, but the lineup has struggled in the second half as well, coming back to Earth hard after a historic start to this season. Carter is the team’s best chance at injecting some life into that group, while adding a left-handed bat to a pretty righty-heavy group overall. He’s a polished hitter who’s run quality averages and OBPs at every stop on his Minor League tour, and he’ll probably be a defensive upgrade over the relatively limited Garcia.
Texas welcomes the Athletics to town for a three-game set beginning tomorrow night, while the Mariners are in Tampa for four games beginning Thursday and the Astros welcome the Padres to Houston this weekend.