Could this prospect be the Rangers' next big star?

January 15th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Kennedi Landry's Rangers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ARLINGTON -- At a tall and lanky 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds,  doesn’t noticeably stand out on the baseball field. 

The Rangers’ second-round Draft selection in 2020 may not be a physical force, but a breakout 2022 season split between High-A Hickory and Double-A Frisco led to him being named the Tom Grieve Player of the Year. 

At 19, Carter was one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League last year, most of which was spent with the Crawdads, and it was the same in the Texas League after a late-season six-game promotion to Frisco after he’d turned 20. 

“He's incredibly impressive,” said Ross Fenstermaker, the Rangers’ assistant general manager for player development. “He's gone out, he's basically performed 30 to 40 percent above league average offensively, and he's played a good center field and runs the bases extremely well. That's value in all aspects of his game as a 19-year-old in a pretty competitive league. … He's [made it to] Double-A at age 20. There’s a good track record for players that make it to Double-A at age 20, especially domestically.”

Carter enjoys being around older players who can help him adjust to the game at this level.

“I think I learned a lot being around a little bit older guys,” Carter said. “Especially some of the college guys as far as the mental side of the game, keeping a level head throughout the whole season, ups and downs, you know, keeping your good going a little longer and your bad going a little bit shorter. So stuff like that probably helps a lot.”

It’s worked out for him so far.

Carter slashed .295/.397/.489/.886 with 21 doubles, 10 triples, 12 home runs, 28 steals and 73 RBIs in his first full-length season in the Minors. He struggled with injuries throughout his debut season in 2021, but last year he jumped into MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 when the rankings were reworked midseason.

Carter’s promotion to Frisco on Sept. 13 helped that club to a Texas League championship, as he went 3-for-5 in the series-clinching win.

“It wasn't a hard adjustment,” Carter said of his promotion. “Baseball is baseball, and you just try not to let it get too big or too small or out of hand, I guess. It's the same game, though, that you played every level. So I just try to kind of keep it that way in the back of my head.”

Carter was one of nine players across Minor League Baseball to win a 2022 Rawlings Gold Glove Award, becoming the second RoughRider in franchise history to win, after catcher Jose Trevino.

Carter spent 88 games in the outfield during the regular season, recording 182 putouts in 187 total chances (.973 fielding percentage), with three outfield assists. He started all four games in center field during the Riders’ championship run in the Texas League and recorded putouts on all seven chances.

Carter is currently the No. 3 prospect in the Rangers’ system, as ranked by MLB Pipeline, and the No. 56 overall prospect, but he figures to get a huge bump in the preseason re-ranking. With Josh Jung’s pending graduation from prospect status and Jack Leiter’s early struggles in pro ball, Carter is primed to be the Rangers’ top prospect come Spring Training.

“It helps validate the whole ‘baseball is baseball’ thing,” Carter said of his early success. “You don't really have to try and up your game or be better than what you've been doing. You just have to keep doing your same thing. It should translate over [to the next level].”