Top prospect arrives as advertised at right time for Rangers

Evan Carter posted 1.058 OPS in 23 games while showcasing strong defense in LF

October 3rd, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG -- If you ask Rangers manager Bruce Bochy, it’s almost like rookie glides in the outfield and on the bases.

“He makes running look easy,” Bochy said.

Just weeks into his big league career, MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 overall prospect is making an impact on both sides of the field. Carter has come as advertised at the right time for Texas, hitting .306/.413/.645 (1.058 OPS) through 23 big league games as he became the everyday left fielder, often flashing the defense that made him a Minor League Gold Glove Award winner in 2022.

Now, he’ll likely start for a Rangers team that's headed to the postseason for the first time since 2016.

“I'm really excited,” Carter said. “A lot of the games that we played in here recently, it’s felt like playoff baseball. So I feel as prepared as I can be. But also, I'll never know what it's like until we actually play [Tuesday]. So I'm excited, and ready to get going.”

At just 21 years old, Carter was tasked with helping the Rangers end a postseason drought in a historically tight race. Since he was called up on Sept. 8, the AL West has been tight as ever, with no team in the division taking a lead bigger than three games.

“It's actually really fun to watch,” veteran shortstop said of Carter during the last homestand. “He's going out there and playing free and being himself. He's not trying to do too much. He's just staying within himself. It's pretty special. … Doesn't seem like [the pressure] has affected him. It doesn't look like it, which is pretty cool. It speaks to his character, speaks of his personality and speaks to the player he is. He's just confident in who he is.”

Carter has taken it all in stride, though he readily admits that being in the postseason is a different animal. He tries to play with the same “baseball is baseball” mindset that’s driven him through the Rangers' system as quickly as it did.

But he’s not ignorant to what’s at stake here for the Rangers.

“I’ve been talking to some veteran players that we've got on the team, and they've helped point me in the right direction,” Carter said. “We've got a great clubhouse, and a good mix of young guys and guys who have been there and done that. A lot of guys that have been to the playoffs before and won some World Series. We've definitely got some experience there. I'm just gonna lean on them to kind of be a little bit more prepared than I would be otherwise.”

The last three months have been a whirlwind for Carter, going from Double-A Frisco, to joining the best team in Triple-A Round Rock history, to finally getting the call he always dreamed about.

He’s not a perfect player. Nobody is. That incredible slash line includes an 0-for-10 mark against lefties. His patience at the plate has sometimes become detrimental to his game, as he could handle being more aggressive. No matter the knocks against him, Carter has become a quality big league player in a small amount of time.

Once a highly criticized Draft prospect and selection, Carter has handled each new challenge with the poise and confidence of a veteran. He’s a big leaguer now.

But he wants more.

“It's been awesome,” Carter said. “Obviously, the goal for every baseball player is to win the World Series, so I mean to have the opportunity to come into a club that's right there and so close. We earned the opportunity to play for that and get into the postseason. It's been a dream come true. Obviously getting called up was an amazing experience for me, but that moves on really quick when I get a chance to play in the playoffs like this. So it's really exciting.”