The Boston Red Sox acquired Christopher Michael Carp on February 20th, 2013 for basically nothing.
I remember hearing the name, shrugging my shoulders, and saying, who? He hit .213 for the Seattle Mariners last season so why would I know him, or remotely think he would play any role for the Red Sox this season. He was Lyle Overbay 2.0, might make the team in spring, or might just get cut, not to be seen again.
Well, lucky for us, it turns out that Mike Carp is a force not to be messed with in this league.
In just 55 games this year, Carp has a .329/.388/.622 slash, with 8 HR’s, and 28 RBI’s in just 143 AB’s. Read it again if you think I’m messing with you, but pay close to attention to that slugging percentage. I mean, it’s not destroying a phone cover to pieces power, but a .622 SLG is pretty impressive for a guy who gets sporadic playing time. I think for some people, Carp could get lost in this great offense, but don’t worry buddy, I see you.
Even though it seems like he came out of thin air, Carp really swung the bat well in his time in the minor leagues. He showed a lot of pop
when he was playing Single-A ball for the Mets, and that would prove to be a trend as he climbed the ranks. In his first three years for Seattle’s Triple-A team (Tacoma Rainiers, 2009-2011), he connected on 65 HR’s and drove in 204 RBI’s. But his 2012 season was one to forget, a mix of injuries and just bad baseball led to Carp getting designated for assignment. His BABIP (batting average on balls in play) was .263 in his final year with Seattle, compared to a .438 this year with Boston and his GBP (ground ball percentage) is 11% lower. Less ground balls and more line drives are always a good thing to see, but something not in the stats that really helps breed success is confidence.
Boston has instilled confidence in Mike Carp, and in return Mike Carp has instilled confidence in himself. Since his first start on April 17th, where he went 3-3, with two doubles and a triple, Carp has done nothing but hit. It’s not like he’s some washed up veteran who is trying to see what he has left in the tank, the guy’s only 27. Sometimes, a change of scenery can work wonders for an athlete. If that’s the case, then the Red Sox bought low on Carp and are reaping the benefits.
I’ll leave you with the wise words of David Ortiz on the topic from an article by Evan Drellich from MassLive.com.
“That’s a guy that definitely he needs to, at some point, whenever he gets the chance, whenever this ball club can give him the chance: he’s an every day player.”