The Rangers informed reporters, including Kennedi Landry of MLB.com, that they are promoting outfield prospect Evan Carter. He will take the active roster spot of Adolis García, who will head to the 10-day injured list with a right patellar tendon strain. Carter will require a corresponding move to be added to the 40-man roster, which will be reported on Friday, per Jeff Wilson of Rangers Today.
It was reported earlier that the Rangers were considering a promotion of Carter, a report which preceded García’s injury. It’s possible that Carter may have been promoted this week regardless, but it seems the issue in García’s knee gave the club enough incentive to pull the trigger and make it happen.
It’s a bit of a belated birthday present for Carter, who turned 21 just over a week ago. The 50th overall selection from the 2020 draft, Carter wasn’t a high-profile prospect at that time but has shot up the rankings since then. Last year, he hit .287/.388/.476 through 100 games at High-A for a wRC+ of 136, indicating he was 36% better than league average. He also stole 26 bases and got a late-season bump to Double-A.
This year, he hit .284/.411/.451 in 97 Double-A games for a 132 wRC+, stealing another 22 bases in the process. He was recently promoted to Triple-A for eight games there but will now get a chance to come up to the big leagues.
Carter is currently considered the #10 prospect in the league by Baseball America, #32 by FanGraphs, #8 by MLB Pipeline, #14 by ESPN and #10 by Keith Law of The Athletic. Each outlet considers him a capable center fielder with a keen eye at the plate, as he has produced double-digit walk rates at each stop of the minor league ladder. The major long-term question seems to be whether or not he will have the power to be more than a speed-and-defense specialist. He hit 11 home runs at High-A last year and has 12 at Double-A this year. But he has a respectable floor even if the power doesn’t develop, thanks to his other tools.
He will now have a chance to see how he fares at the major league level, replacing García, who injured himself crashing into the wall while attempting to catch a home run. Per Landry’s reporting, the Rangers are cautiously optimistic that García has a chance to return this year, but the window will be tight. There are just over three weeks remaining on the regular season schedule, which will be a narrow timeframe for García to return in.
He has been a potent yet volatile part of the club’s lineup, having socked 34 home runs this year but also striking out in 27.4% of his plate appearances. The past month has been a notable low point, as he’s hit just .152/.236/.333 from August 7 to the present, striking out in 37.3% of his trips to the plate in that time. That rough stretch for García has coincided with the club going on a terrible cold streak, falling from first to third in the American League West and half a game behind the Blue Jays for the final Wild Card spot.
Recent results notwithstanding, García has been one of the club’s best players this year and it will be a challenge to proceed without him. The club will hope that Carter can provide a jolt and their pitching staff can get its act together as they look to finish strong and make the postseason for the first time since 2016.
Carter won’t have enough time to exhaust his rookie status in what remains of the 2023 season, which is notable under the current collective bargaining agreement. If clubs carry a rookie and top prospect on their roster for a full service year, that player can earn the club an extra draft pick by winning Rookie of the Year honors or placing in the top three of Most Valuable Player voting during pre-arbitration years.
Given his lofty prospect status, Carter will be in the mix for those prospect promotion incentives, but that will be a matter for another day. For now, he will be focused on making his major league debut, jumping right into a playoff race and into the Texas outfield alongside Leody Taveras, Robbie Grossman, Travis Jankowski and J.P. Martínez.