That wasn't the case in his previous stints with the A's, for whom he compiled a combined nine walks and 41 strikeouts in 39 games between the 2010-11 seasons. Carter has already surpassed that walk total in 15 games with Oakland this season, having tallied 10 -- including two in Wednesday's 16-0 win in Toronto, one of which scored a run.
"They're tougher at-bats," manager Bob Melvin said. "You're seeing a guy who's more confident and, in turn, not having those meek at-bats where he's swinging at balls two feet away and bad swings where it just looks like he's giving at-bats away. It's just the opposite now.
"He's grinding out at-bats, whether it's lefties or righties, as hard as anybody we have, and it's nice to see, because if he's confident, leaving balls alone that are out of the zone, if he gets one he can handle, he's got as much chance of hitting the ball out of the ballpark as anyone we have here. Walks, I think, are as big confidence-wise as homers for him."
Both are being had with ease. Carter, carrying a .415 on-base percentage, has six home runs since joining the A's on June 29, which is tied for fifth in the American League in that span. This coming on the heels of a 2011 season that saw Carter hit .136 with no extra-base hits and no RBIs in 15 big-league games.
The 25-year-old Carter, who made his fifth straight start at first base Thursday, entered the day with 12 RBIs. Brandon Moss, who is splitting time with him at the corner spot, has 21 in 34 games. Their total of 33 is nearly double the amount first basemen Daric Barton and Kila Ka'aihue provided (18) in a combined 76 games before being demoted.
"[Carter] was just trying to do too much before," Melvin said. "He was trying to get four hits in one at-bat, and he would swing at just about anything to get himself going. Now he's confident in himself enough and calm enough at the plate where he's really waiting for a good ball. He does have a short stroke, he's got a quick swing for a big guy. I think, based on the fact he came up here and got off to a nice little start, he's just feeling more and more confident, and the at-bats aren't as fast for him. He's slowing them down."