25 years old; Experience: 3 years
Out of all the surprises last year, the fact that Mike Carp could hit the ball consistently at a major league level might have been the only Mariners surprise worth having. Mike Carp sadly put in one of the best hitting lines for the Mariners last year, and he only played in half the season. But it is a good surprise, considering that Mike Carp had always shown the ability to mash the hell out of the ball in AAA. AAA ball is littered with players that can mash the hell out of the ball there, but then struggle to even place the bat on the ball at the major league level. Mike Carp had never really gotten much of a chance in his September call-up tryouts with the Mariners in previous years until last year.
Last year, Mike Carp's numbers were pretty consistent with his career averages - hitting .276/.326/.466 (career: .273/.334/.444). He still strikes out at a pretty consistent clip, about a quarter of the time, and he did show a better ability to draw walks in AAA than he has shown in the major leagues, so maybe his OBP might increase a little bit. For now, Mike Carp is a welcome addition to the Seattle Mariners for his versatility (he can hit AND play first base). The Mariners are throwing him into left field because Mike Carp isn't exactly known for his defense, and generally speaking neither are left fielders as a whole.
This year we can plan on Mike Carp playing some left field, and then possibly spelling some off days for Justin Smoak at first base, and possibly a bit of DH as well. That much we do know, and because Mike Carp likes to wear his heart (or in this case, his batting statistics) on his sleeve, we can pretty much know what he is projected for as well. Mike Carp's yearly averages read like his career averages, so just figuring that he plays most of a season, we can hopefully expect Mike Carp to hit around .275 and possibly slug up to 20 homers out of the park. That is the Mike Carp ceiling, and although that may seem to be a bit unimpressive, in this Mariners line-up that struggles to hit anything past the infield diamond, any bit of slightly consistent power is welcomed with open arms.