The Detroit Tigers have had very little development successes over the past several years. Even several top prospects have failed to make and impact at the big league level. But one player has broken that mold.
Enter Kerry Carpenter, or perhaps more appropriately, "Kerry Bonds." Carpenter was a 19th-round pick in 2019. His first full year of pro ball in 2021 was pretty pedestrian. He didn't seem like much of a prospect.
But in the 2021 offseason, he hired a personal hitting instructor ($$$) to help him make adjustments to his swing. It took about a month for the results to start showing, but when they did, they didn't stop.
Carpenter started hitting bombs left and right at Double-A in 2022. He came out of nowhere and people started paying attention.
He came up to Toledo later in the year, and just didn't stop hitting. The Tigers eventually had no choice but to call him up.
Carpenter slashed .252/.310/.485 with six home runs and a 126 wRC+ in 113 plate appearances with the Tigers in 2022. It was a nice start to his career, with some hope of things to go.
There was some skepticism as to whether Carpenter was legit, or if he was going to fizzle out like players of years past, such as Brennan Boesch or Chris Shelton. He got off to a great start in 2023, putting up similar numbers as 2022. He even missed about six weeks with a shoulder injury, and didn't miss a beat.
Then, for the first time in two years, he went through a slump. He went through a 8-for-45 stretch from July 21-Aug. 4. All of his hits during that stretch were singles. He was having trouble driving the ball like he had been.
But since Aug. 5, Kerry Bonds has made his triumphant return. He's hitting .484 with four homers and an OPS of about 1.300 over the past week. This culminated in a two-homer game in yesterday's game against Red Sox. Both homers were hit the opposite way — over the green monster.
This has brought his season totals to .281/.341/.510 with 15 home runs and an .851 OPS. He has overcome his first slump as a big leaguer. That was really the last hurdle.
Kerry Carpenter is legit. He's the real deal as a hitter. With Miggy retiring after this season, and Carpenter's subpar defense in the outfield, Carpenter can be the team's DH for years to come.
It's nice to see the Tigers finally have a hitting prospect take off out of nowhere. They now have a middle of the order bat for the foreeable future.