Wednesday newsletter time: Top prospect Evan Carter wins long-drive contest to Rangers camp
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Evan Carter was drafted in 2020 at age 17, and he’s in his first big-league camp three years later at 20.
So, it wasn’t the longest road for him to reach an important milestone for any prospect.
But he took a really long road to get to the Surprise Recreation Campus.
Carter lives in Elizabethon, Tenn. That’s eastern Tennessee. Far eastern Tennessee.
He could have flown, though it’s not easy to do from where he lives. But it’s easier than what Carter did.
He, his wife, his parents and his 100-pound Giant Schnauzer made the 30-hour drive to Arizona, making two overnight stops and with his wife’s car in tow.
“I-40 the whole way to Flagstaff, and straight down,” Carter said. “We stopped about an hour past Memphis into Arkansas and then we stopped in Amarillo, and from Amarillo we made it.”
While flying would have been easier, driving was cheaper. Many players have their cars transported to Arizona and then to wherever they will be playing their home games. For Carter, he is likely to start 2023 where he finished 2020 — at Double A Frisco.
Shipping wasn’t really a good option for one of the top-100 prospects in baseball.
“We did it so we’d have our cars here,” Carter said. “I didn’t want to ship them because shipping’s expensive. I didn’t want to get on a plane with my dog. I didn’t want to ship him either.”
Carter wasn’t complaining much. He said he saw some nice views, though presumably not the stretch from Oklahoma City to Amarillo.
He arrived at his first big-league camp rated by many industry publications as the Rangers’ top prospect, which is quite a surge from draft night when all analysts panned the Rangers for selecting Carter with the 50th overall pick.
“I get to talk to all these people. It’s going to be a good time,” he said. “I’m going to learn something for sure.”
Some loose ends
A few things to be aware of as Rangers camp rolls on:
• Shortstop Luisangel Acuna arrived to camp Tuesday, a day late for full-squad workouts because of a travel issue that originated in Venezuela. Acuna, who was added to the 40-man roster in November, is considered one of the Rangers’ top five prospects. Outfielder Yoshi Tsutsugo remains absent from camp as he deals with travel complications from Japan.
• Rangers pitchers have been throwing bullpen sessions and live batting practice with pitch clocks behind home plate. MLB is implementing a pitch clock — 15 seconds between pitches with no runners on base, 20 seconds with runners — this season, and the rule will be enforced in spring games.
• The nice weather of the past few days was expected to give way to overnight rain, high winds and cooler temperatures, which could put Wednesday’s workout in jeopardy. The Rangers are scheduled to take the field at 10:30 a.m MST.
• Among the minor-league pitchers in camp early is 2022 fourth-rounder Brock Porter, the right-hander who slid out of the first round and into the Rangers’ draft plans. He said he has been in Arizona for six weeks as he prepares for his professional debut.
On the YouTube channel …
We’ve been telling you for a while now that the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast’s YouTube channel is more than just our weekly podcast. Our latest project has been capturing bullpen sessions, batting practice and live BP.
We have posted 19 YouTube shorts since arriving on Valentine’s Day, plus a longer video of Martin Perez throwing live BP last week. More are on the way, even while we’re in Texas before coming back just before spring break.
This is a long way of saying that you really should subscribe to the YouTube channel.
Also, we’re taking requests. If there is a player or two who you’d like to see doing stuff, let me and John Moore know. He’s coming out with me March 8, and I’m coming back solo for the final week of camp later next month.
In the meantime, keep watching (subscribe, like and share, as the famous YouTubers say) what has already been posted and give this week’s podcast with Jack Leiter a watch.
Here it is.
The BEST boy. Enjoy.
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Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org