In the three games he's played for the A's so far, the first baseman has collected five hits in 11 at-bats, including two home runs. The sample size is certainly small, and that may prevent any long-term forecasting at the moment.
But A's manager Bob Melvin said he's noticed that Carter has looked a lot more confident at the plate this season compared to his stint with Oakland last year, when he hit just .136 in 15 games. Carter confirmed that his confidence in the big leagues is higher than ever, leading to a more relaxed feeling at the plate.
"It feels good to get a few hits early so you don't have to press for any later," Carter said before Wednesday's game against the Red Sox. "You look at the scoreboard and see you're hitting like .150 or something, it's kind of tough, and you start pressing."
Carter made a big impact in the A's win Tuesday night, despite his error in the fourth inning that led to a go-ahead Boston run. The rookie was able to shake it off, though, and later had the most important defensive play of the game, when he made a diving catch on Nick Punto's bunt in the ninth and doubled off Mike Aviles at first.
That helped prevent the Red Sox from adding to their tenuous lead. Carter took his momentum into the bottom of the inning, hitting a leadoff single to begin an A's rally that ended in a walk-off win. Melvin said he thought plays like those are helping the first baseman to believe he belongs in the big leagues.
With Carter expected to be in the lineup every time Oakland faces left-handed pitchers for the foreseeable future, he's guaranteed playing time at least semi-consistently. Early on, thanks to his growing confidence, that's amounting to better results for the rookie.
"In the past, he's put up terrific numbers in Triple-A and has had a little bit of a tough time here," Melvin said. "Now all of a sudden, he's doing it not only offensively but defensively, and now I think as far as the confidence factor, he's probably feeling as good as he's ever felt at the big leagues right now."