Rangers call up top prospect Evan Carter

Outfielder to make MLB debut Friday as Adolis García hits IL with knee injury

September 9th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- said back in July that he didn’t just want to be a top prospect. He wanted to be a big leaguer.

Now he is.

The Rangers called up Carter, the club’s No. 1 prospect, to debut in the club's eventual 6-3 loss vs. Oakland at Globe Life Field. Carter went 1-for-3 with a single in his first at-bat, a walk and a stolen base. Carter was called up after Texas had to place outfielder Adolis García on the 10-day injured list with a right patellar tendon strain suffered in Wednesday night’s loss to the Astros.

“I’m going to be on cloud nine, kind of floating out there,” Carter said. “I'm sure the legs are going to be a little bit like jelly underneath me, but I'm really excited. I'm sure once the game gets going, everything will kind of ease out. Baseball is baseball no matter what level, so I'm just really excited.”

General manager Chris Young said Carter -- MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 overall prospect -- has been on the front office’s radar all season long, but especially in recent weeks since his promotion to Triple-A Round Rock.

“[García's] injury aside, Evan has performed at both Double-A and Triple-A this year,” Young said. “He has an elite approach, strike zone awareness and control and really fits the profile of a player that we think can have success at the Major League level. We also recognize that Evan is still developing and there's a learning curve.

“This will be the best pitching he's ever faced in the Major Leagues and he's coming into a pennant race. I don't want any unfair expectations for Evan. But we're very, very excited to add him to our roster. We're very optimistic and excited about his future and we think he makes the Texas Rangers better, both now and in the future. We're excited for his debut.”

Carter hit .284/.411/.451 with 12 homers and 22 steals in 97 games with Double-A Frisco this season before a birthday promotion to Triple-A Round Rock on Aug. 29. He played just eight games with the Express, but slashed .353/.436/.382 with a double and three steals over that time.

Carter could have been promoted even sooner if not for a nagging hand injury slowing him down early in the season.

He admitted the hand injury -- which he suffered after being hit by a pitch in May -- affected him more than he thought at the time and he maybe should have gone to the IL a little sooner. In the 56 Double-A games he played after coming off the IL on June 21, he hit .290 with a .917 OPS.

Young said they anticipate Carter will play almost every day at the big league level, but especially against right-handed pitchers. He hit .292 with all but one of 35 extra-base hits against righties, compared to .272 against lefties this season.

“We'll have to evaluate him against left-handers,” Young said. “We're going to put the most optimal lineup out there to win every single day. I'm not going to rule it out. But I'm also not going to commit to it either. We'll take that day by day and discuss that with the staff based on who's going well and what the best, most optimal matchups are.”

The Rangers’ second-round pick in the COVID-shortened 2020 MLB Draft, Carter blew expectations out of the water as a little-known Draft prospect coming out of Elizabethton (Tenn.) High School.

Carter was the Rangers' Minor League Player of the Year in 2022, slashing .295/.397/.489 with 21 doubles, 10 triples, 12 home runs, 28 steals and 73 RBIs between High-A Hickory and Double-A Frisco. He also won a Minor League Gold Glove Award in center field.

He’ll now have the opportunity to help the Rangers push for a postseason spot for the first time since 2016.

“Just go out and play your game,” Young said on what he would tell Carter. “The circumstances are external. If you break it down to its most simplest, basic form, that's really what it's about. Whether it's April or September, you're going out and you're trying to play solid baseball. That's the goal, and we'll express that to Evan. He has a great head on his shoulders and we're very confident that he can slide in here and help us.”