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MLB Prospects: Detroit Tigers’ Kerry Carpenter’s Stock Rising in Toledo

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At this point in the season, Detroit Tigers fans are simply holding out hope. Hope that there is still a silver lining to this disappointing season. Hope there is still a bright future for the organization. Hope that somewhere in one of the league’s oldest farm systems there is another young MLB prospect that fans can look forward to potentially seeing in the Olde English D in the near future. Last year, fans were eagerly anticipating the arrival of Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson. This year, fans are hoping that prospect is outfielder Kerry Carpenter.

Kerry Carpenter’s Rising Stock

The 24-year-old Kerry Carpenter was selected in the 19th round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of Virginia Tech and MLB Pipeline grades him Overall: 40 |  Hit: 45 | Power: 60 | Run: 45 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 on the 20-80 scale. During his first two seasons within the organization (2019 & 2021) his numbers weren’t eye-popping but this season he has taken a major leap during 2022 at both AA Erie and now at AAA Toledo and even recently landed himself on the Detroit Tigers Top 30 Prospects list at #22.

What makes him a very intriguing prospect within the Detroit Tigers organization are his increased power numbers, increase in walks, decreasing trend in strikeouts, and his batting average against both left and right-handed pitchers this season.

Carpenter has put in a ton of work during the offseason with MLB Pipeline noting that he connected with personal hitting coach Richard Schenck (who has worked with Aaron Judge and Ian Happ) and his results have shown. Carpenter hit 15 home runs during all of 2021 in Erie and through 63 games he surpassed that total with 22 home runs. Even with his promotion to Toledo, he’s hit five home runs through 24 games. His slugging percentage jumped from .433 during 2021 to .646 at AA Erie and .598 at AAA Toledo this season. Carpenter’s OPS is 1.005 and 1.008 in Erie and Toledo respectively this season.

What’s been the most impressive and most exciting note has been his jump from AA Erie to AAA Toledo. A big concern in Erie has been Carpenter’s strikeout numbers and so far he has 11 walks to 13 strikeouts in Toledo, posting a career-high 11.6% walk percentage and lowering his strikeout percentage to 13.7%, down from 27.5% in Erie. 

Carpenter has also posted some intriguing number splits against left and right-handed pitchers while in AAA Toledo. Vs left-handed pitchers, he’s slashed .381/.480/.429 with an OPS of .909 while vs right-handed pitchers, he’s slashed .295/.386/.656 with an OPS of 1.042.

Obviously, this is a very small sample size but his numbers trending in this direction could mean he is starting to see the ball much better and hit his stride.

Who would Kerry Carpenter Replace?

Kerry Carpenter is not currently on the Detroit Tigers’ 40-man roster. In order for Carpenter to move up, a current member of the 40-man roster would have to be designated for assignment (DFA), released, or traded.

Realistically, no one that is currently on the 26-man roster will be DFA’d (Sorry Robbie Grossman and Jeimer Candelario detractors), waiver pickups Brendon Davis (RF) and Ali Sánchez (C) just joined the organization in the past two months, and that leaves a very short list of position players to choose from. Daz Cameron, Derek Hill, and Zack Short.

Of those three, Zack Short seems to be the only realistic possibility to DFA if that would be the route to clear up the roster spot for Kerry Carpenter.

Much of this potential conversation also revolves around the availability of Austin Meadows, who is still not running yet in a report Wednesday from CBS Sports and may not join the Tigers until early-mid August.

Will Kerry Carpenter actually get called up from Toledo this season? Probably not. However, with the direction the season has gone for the Tigers, the organization certainly has nothing to lose by giving Carpenter a chance as a DH at the MLB level.

main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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