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Prospect Profile: Mike Carp

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Mike Carp was drafted by the Mets in the fifth round in 2004, out of high school in Lakewood, California, drafted for his left-handed power. He hit .267/.358/.393 in rookie ball, neither enough to get happy about or discouraged about. I did not put him in the 2005 book but he would have rated as a Grade C prospect.

Carp jumped to the Sally League in 2006, skipping the New York-Penn League. He hit .249/.358/.476 with 19 homers in just 89 games, showing some very impressive power production, though his strikeout rate was high. I did not put him in the 2006 book, which was an oversight on my part as his production was certainly strong enough to rate him as a Grade C+ prospect, with higher potential.

2006 was a breakthrough of sorts: he hit .287/.379/.450 with 17 homers in the Florida State League. He reduced his strikeout rate, which was over once a game in '05 back to a tamer 107 in 137 games in '07. I rated him at Grade B- in the 2007 book, noting that he was a major power sleeper and could surprise people in '07.

He did surprise in '07, but to the downside, hitting .251/.337/.387 in 97 games for Double-A Binghamton. He kept the strikeouts under control, but was hampered by a finger injury. His OPS came out slightly below league average, and he had problems against left-handed pitching. I reduced him to Grade C in this year's book.

If his April start is any indicator, I adjusted the grade too low. He's hitting .361/.400/.619 in 25 games for Binghamton. The sample is small, of course, but he's doing well against both lefties (1.106 OPS) and righties (1.109 OPS). He doesn't turn 22 until the end of June, and looking back at it I didn't account for his age enough in my book rating.

Carp isn't much of a fielder, but if his bat continues to develop at this pace he can be as starting first baseman in the majors. If I were the Mets, I'd leave him in Double-A until the end of June, then promote him to Triple-A on his birthday (June 30th) and see how he handles the International League. I have no idea how the Mets plan on fitting him into the lineup in the long run, but grade-wise I'm moving him back up to Grade C+ right now, and if he is still hitting like this on June 30th I will make that a B- or perhaps a straight B.