It's easy to become enamored with the long ball. Chicks dig it, players make livings off it and some players' fantasy value depends on it.
Included in that category of hitters is Houston Astros slugger Chris Carter, who fell a homer shy of joining the 30-homer club in just 506 at-bats last season and is on track to surpass that total this season if he continues on his current pace.
Sure, Carter is proving to be a cheap source of power this season, though he was available in the later rounds of most drafts for a reason. As any fantasy player knows, Carter's power is offset by a whole host of problems with most of his other statistics.
So, is he worth it? That's the real question here, and the answer, quite simply put, is no.
According to ESPN's Player Rater, one of my favorite metrics for measuring a player's overall fantasy value, Carter has been the 31st-best first baseman this season, despite hitting a ton of home runs and producing a decent RBI total. How is that possible?
It's really quite simple, actually. Carter's lack of production in the other main stats—runs, average, steals—is so drastic that he harms your team significantly more than he helps it with his home runs.
After last season, it appeared that Carter's batting average didn't have anywhere to go but up, but he has defied the odds by hitting .199 through his first 59 games this season, to go along with a .291 OBP that has fallen off by an alarming 29 points from 2013.
Carter's speed doesn't do him any favors either; he's stolen all of three bases in his career and none this year. Players with poor batting averages but good power production can draw the rest of their value from speed (i.e. Brian Dozier this season, Coco Crisp last season), and Carter fails miserably in that respect.
The fact that Carter plays for the Astros doesn't improve matters either. His lack of runs scored and RBI—he's on track for 57 and 71 this season, respectively—really makes him detrimental to your team.
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He's been the best catcher in baseball this season, that's for sure.
But it's not just the normal fantasy statistics that Carter will hurt you in. Aside from his aforementioned low OBP, Carter is striking out in 35.2 percent of his at-bats this season, which is actually a significant improvement from last season when he K'd 212 times (third all time) for a 41.9 percent rate. Needless to say, that's killer in leagues that penalize for strikeouts.
In other words, Carter is so one-dimensional that he hurts your team in every statistical category that isn't homers, with the possible exception of RBI, and he doesn't appear to be improving any time soon. And yet, 21 percent of people in Yahoo! leagues have felt the need to keep Carter on their roster, which is somewhat mind-boggling. Seriously, don't let the power disillusion you. Chris Carter isn't relevant in the fantasy world, and with 30 other first basemen having better seasons than him, there's no need to even think about having him on your roster.