The moment from Evan Carter’s dream field happens daily.
“Playing a pushover for a job, it doesn’t get any better than that,” said Carter, a former baseball player at Elizabethton High School. ” It’s awesome. For me, the days pass. I would say it goes faster because I play every day. I blinked and it’s almost July now, and the season started in April.
Carter is having a good season with the Hickory Crawdads, the Texas Rangers’ High-A affiliate in North Carolina. Going into Thursday’s game, Carter was batting .268 with a solid .370 on-base percentage. He has five home runs and 39 RBIs while beating first, second or third in order. Additionally, Carter stole 14 bases.
Selected by the Rangers in the second round of the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft — after missing his senior season with the Cyclones because of the pandemic — Carter was the 50th overall pick. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound center fielder has made steady progress and is considered one of the organization’s top 10 prospects. With such a high ranking and the money already invested by Rangers, it is not excluded that Carter could beat his current projection of arriving in the big league in 2025.
Carter turns 20 in August and is one of the South Atlantic League’s youngest everyday players. But his youth didn’t prevent him from standing out as polished and productive. What keeps him grounded is an attitude of focusing on the task at hand.
“I’m just trying to focus on what’s going on right now,” Carter said in a phone interview Thursday, ahead of Game 3 of a six-game home series with Greensboro. “At the end of the day, rankings don’t matter. What matters is what you do on the ballpark that day. I prefer to be where my feet are and play this season.
His focus has helped him enjoy exceptional efforts, none bigger than June 21 against the Rome Braves. In a 12-6 win, Carter went 3-for-3 with two triples, a home run and six RBIs. Included in the mix was a third round Grand Slam.
“That was really cool,” Carter said of the base-charged explosion. “It was my first ever. Hopefully more will come down the road.
The whole day, including the two triples, was just one of those things, Carter said.
“Baseball is weird,” Carter said. “There’s a lot of luck involved. A lot of things have to go in the right direction. You get some good pitches to hit, and there happen to be people on base. Lots of little things need to come together. All you can do is be prepared and take advantage of situations when they arise.
THE UPPER STAGE
In his first season with the Single-A Down East Wood Ducks (Kinston, North Carolina) in 2021, Carter had more walks (34) than strikeouts (28) before being stopped with a broken bone. stress in the lower back.
Getting to the next level was a challenge.
“It was a big leap, honestly, in my opinion,” Carter said. “The pitchers are much older than me and much more experienced.
“That jump from Single-A to High-A in pitch is one of the biggest. You have to adjust. It forces you to be better. In the end, I think that’s a good thing. »
Carter handled the situation well, increasing his batting average by 32 points while maintaining a good ratio of goals on walks (36 against 44) in 57 games.
As for the team’s success, Hickory finished second in the first half of the season, going 38-28. The Crawdads are 2-3 in the second half, which runs until September 11.
Carter said he’s seen teammates get the call to step up a gear and he knows it takes more than a thing or two to make it happen.
“I think to progress you have to work on everything,” he said. “There is never a thing that is complete. You are always looking to learn and you are always looking to improve in everything.
Winning physically is one thing, Carter said. But he said an important part of the upward path is mental toughness.
“I think one of the biggest things for me is the mental side of things, whether it’s good or bad, you have to come out as the same person every day,” Carter said. “Be consistent with your emotions and your mindset. It’s tough if you’re going through a tough time. That’s something I’ve focused on a lot this year.
One of Carter’s teammates is Luisangel Acuña, who is the brother of Atlanta Braves megastar Ronald Acuña Jr.
Young Acuña also beats high in the order of the Crawdads.
“He gets a lot of fan attention,” Carter said. “It’s cool for them to see him because of who his brother is. As far as the team is concerned, we treat him like any other person in the team. And that’s how he treats him. wants to be treated.
Carter said he was well placed with the Rangers.
“Our culture is really good,” Carter said. “It’s fun to be here. They drafted and selected players who are great people, and I appreciate that. The coaching staff has been great and everyone really cares about each other. I think that’s what makes a great team. I think Rangers did a great job.
And though he said he was happy with the Rangers, Carter still loves going home — which is only about a two-hour drive from Hickory.
“I was able to go home many times,” Carter said. “It’s been good to come home during the season. I’m definitely not going to leave behind where I come from. I’m always going to come home. There’s been a ton of people supporting me. I still speaks to a lot of people back home. It’s still something that I will keep a part of my life.