Need Help with Your Hitting and Base Running?

Carter Hits 10

Carter Runs 9Nothing personal, Chris – and I’m not trying to be mean here. I’m just constantly surprised today by how many contemporary major leaguers seem to lack, or forget, the fundamentals of the game when it comes to learning the strike zone and picking up on what the pitchers are learning to do to send batters on a fishing trip into those inside and outside, high and low areas of the strike zone that are as barren of any payoff for hitters as the Dead Sea is to fishermen.

I also don’t get what’s going on with talents like yourself. Your first base skills have improved remarkably, and nobody will crush the ball any harder than you when you make contact. The balls you hit out of the park seem on their way to another world. It just doesn’t happen often enough to justify the fact that you have been mired under .200 for way too long. You have the intelligence, the temperament, and the athletic ability to learn and fight your way out of this ceiling on greater opportunity – and you must do so before that same ceiling freezes you out of a much longer MLB future. You have one – but only if you can learn to cut down on the strikeouts and hit for a better average, especially with runners in scoring position.

The base running issues I and some others have with you seem to have more to do with focus than anything else, but it does appear that your size and slugging ability also has left you out of some of the fundamental practice on the basics  of base running. That doesn’t fly. You got tagged out a couple of nights ago after sliding into 3rd base safely for then breaking contact with the base as you were arising from the dirt. C’mon, Chris! The 3rd baseman had the glove-enclosed ball resting on your back the whole time you were getting up. Of course, you were called out. As soon as you broke contact with the base under those circumstances, you were going to be called out.

Then, in the first game blow-out win over Arizona, you were the runner at 2nd base when a ground ball was hit in front of you to shortstop. You kept on running – straight into an easy 6-5 put out. – What were you thinking? I’m sure you’ve heard the old rule about grounders when you are the runner at 2nd. It they are hit behind you, especially slowly, go for it. If they are hit in front of you, especially, if they are hit sharply and you are not a speed-burner, hold back on any advance, if at all, until you see the shortstop’s actual play on the ball. – I have to believe you know that rule – as well as the big one. – Never run your team out of scoring opportunity. – Make that mis-run. It’s a better fitting phrase.

Please take what I’m writing here in the right spirit. We fans want to see our guys succeed and I happen to like you and also think you’ve got a level of talent as a power hitter that you have yet to reach. You just can’t afford to avoid the reality that most careers in baseball are hinged upon whether or not the decision-makers still are regarding a player as a prospect – and not as a suspect. Once you move into the “suspect” category, there really is not much of a chance of ever getting out again.

Age is the time clock here too. And here’s the easiest test: Ask yourself.- How many prospects do you know in the 25 and younger group? Then ask – how many prospects do I know in the 26 and older group?

Go get ’em good and early next spring, Chris Carter. You can do it – but will you?

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3 Responses to “Need Help with Your Hitting and Base Running?”

  1. Gary Trujillo Says:

    The modern day Dave Kingman??

    • Rick B. Says:

      More like the modern-day Rob Deer. If you don’t remember him, there is good reason for that. If you look him up, you’ll see the similarities.

  2. Mike McCroskey Says:

    He also lost his second stolen base of the season several weeks ago when he slid safely into 2nd and then lost contact with the bag while standing up as the infielder kept his tag applied. The recent 3rd base play was a repeat performance. But, aah, the 3 run homer when down 6-3. Nice! And a .359 average for the September stretch drive coming into today’s game. He could be a difference maker in the playoffs.

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