By: Nicholas Gilanfar
As the 2023 season starts to dwindle, so do the Rangers’ playoff chances. After four months of high-quality baseball, we have been in a tailspin for answers for the past month.
The Rangers have played six games on their current homestand and have gone 1-5 while also getting swept by the Houston Astros. This series against Houston was a must-win situation for the Rangers as they are in a tight division race with both Houston and Seattle. Before coming to Arlington, the Astros were swept by the plummeting New York Yankees. That did not matter though as Houston outscored the Rangers 39-10 with 16 home runs in one of the most devastating three-game series in franchise history.
Due to our underwhelming efforts for the past month, the Rangers went from first place in the AL West to the outside looking in of the wild card trailing a half-game to Toronto. The AL West title is still possible, but it is time to snap out of this funk and push for the playoffs.
Where We Stand Right Now
Houston Astros: 80-61
Seattle Mariners: 78-61 (One Game Back)
Texas Rangers: 76-63 (Three Games Back)
Tampa Bay Rays: 85-55
Seattle Mariners: 78-61
Toronto Blue Jays: 77-63
Texas Rangers: 76-63 (Half-game back)
Out of the many blows the Texas Rangers have taken lately, it got worse. During Wednesday’s 12-3 loss, Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia was going for a home run hit by Michael Brantley when he landed on his knee incorrectly and was forced to miss the remainder of the game. Garcia is an all-star and has been the cleanup hitter for the entirety of the season. Not having his bat in the lineup will sever this offense even more.
A Highly Anticipated Call-Up
On Thursday, September 7, it was announced that All-Star Adolis Garcia will be placed on the Ten-day IL with a patellar tendon strain. A huge blow for the Rangers, but on the bright side the Rangers have called up their number one prospect in OF Evan Carter. The 21-year-old phenom is the eighth-ranked prospect in the MLB’s top 100 list as the Rangers are going to their last resort in bringing on Evan Carter to shift the momentum in the clubhouse.
Carter spent most of the season with AA Frisco Roughriders before getting the call on August 29 to AAA Round Rock where he then found himself in the big leagues over two weeks later hitting a .353 batting average over eight games played. This is a shock bringing Carter up this late in the season after he was not projected to make his major league debut until next year. The Rangers are in a place where they are running out of answers and need to fill the void of Garcia, Carter is the best option to go with.
Evan Carter was born and raised in Elizabethton, Tennessee where he also had the chance to play high school baseball for Elizabethton High School. In high school, Carter Obviously played in the outfield but also had some playing time as a relief pitcher. Carter graduated in the infamous class of 2020 being regarded as a highly touted state prospect ranking 12th overall in the state and third in his position. Prior to the pandemic, Carter committed to the University of Duke to play baseball, but things changed after the national emergency. Because of the current instances, Carter voided his commitment to Duke and decided to put his name in the 2020 draft at 17 years old.
June 10, 2020, was the draft day as Carter was selected in the second round at pick 50. Normally, for draft picks report to the minor leagues two weeks later but that was not the case for Carter as the 2020 MILB season was canceled due to the pandemic.
In 2021, Carter will start his professional debut in A-ball with the Down-East Wood Ducks where he played the entire year. This was Carter’s first time playing baseball in over a year due to the stoppage of sports, so it was obvious there was some rust to be knocked off. Carter only appeared in 32 games that season, hitting an underwhelming .236, two home runs, and 12 RBIs. It was a rocky start for Carter as it was for most players getting back into the grind of a baseball season. Despite a turbulent season, Carter was still considered as the 16th prospect in the Rangers organization in 2021.
In 2022, the legend of Carter officially takes off. This time Carter will be promoted and start the season with the High-A Hickory Crawdads where he dominated. Carter suited up for the Crawdads for most of the season, playing in 100 games, hitting a .287 batting average, 11 home runs, and 66 RBIs. After a dominant campaign in High-A the Rangers front office decided they would promote Carter to AA Frisco to be a part of their playoff run.
One way to describe Evan Carter’s tenure in Frisco is “all gas no brakes” as he hit an astonishing .429, one home run, and seven RBI in only six games. Carter’s dominance ended up fueling a title run for the Frisco Roughriders as they won the Texas League championship for the second time in franchise history. After Carter’s successful season between his time with Hickory and Frisco, he sky-rocketed the organization’s prospect rankings by becoming the fourth-ranked prospect.
Heading into 2023, Carter officially put the league a notice by becoming the organization’s new top-ranked prospect and ranked eighth in the top 100 MLB prospect’s list.
Starting his third season in the minor leagues, Carter would start this year with the Frisco Roughriders but missed some time at the beginning of the season due to a hand injury. Carter was able to come back from injury smoothly as he kept producing at a similar speed, tallying a .284 batting average, 12 home runs, and 62 RBIs in 97 games played which is like the stats he produced in his time with the Hickory Crawdads in 2022.
After hitting success again, he was promoted again on August 29, 2023, to play for AAA Round Rock, the last step towards reaching the MLB dream. Carter appeared in eight games hitting yet again an absurd batting average of .353 with three RBIs as he was quick to catch on to speed in another promotion.
Nine days after Carter’s AAA promotion he will now be suiting up for the Texas Rangers this weekend as they make a push to the postseason. Carter zipped through the minor leagues and the future of the Texas Rangers will hopefully come into play nicely with a veteran-led team having hopes of extending the season to October. Losing Garcia is devastating, but this move gives the franchise an early look to see if Carter can fulfill the role of the franchise’s future outfielder.
Featured Image via CBSsports.com