Who is Evan Carter? Stats, age and more to know about Rangers rookie becoming MLB playoffs star

The MLB postseason is time for the most unlikely of heroes. Evan Carter is not exactly an unlikely hero, rather just an early hero.

When the season began, the idea of Carter playing meaningful baseball late in the playoffs might have seemed like a bit of a stretch. He had appeared in just six Double-A games in 2022 as a 19-year-old, which gave him still plenty of time left until he would seem like a viable player for a promotion.

But all Carter did in 2023 was hit. And hit. And hit. And hit. And with each of those hits, he drew a step closer to the majors, eventually earning the promotion to the big leagues on Aug. 29. Since then, all he’s done is post an eye-popping 1.236 OPS, with more walks than strikeouts. Oh yeah, and he made this pivotal play in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Astros.

Carter has long been heralded as one of baseball’s top prospects, with some seeing a future star in the making. But his arrival on the big-league stage has been very sudden, which means he’s likely still much of an unknown to many.

MORE: World Series odds, predictions: Phillies, Rangers favored to meet in Fall Classic

Here’s what to know about the Rangers’ October sensation: 

How old is Evan Carter?

Carter is among the youngest players in the sport. Born Aug. 29, 2002, he was promoted to the majors on his 21st birthday. Carter has moved rapidly through the minors, having been just 18 in his first year in the minors, 19 in his first full season and 20 for all of his second minor-league season, 2023.

Carter is the second-youngest player ever to appear in a postseason in Rangers history behind only Jurickson Profar, who was 19 when he appeared in a playoff game for the Rangers in 2012.

“I wouldn’t say it was easy,” Carter said, per CBS News. “There’s a lot of work and preparation and stuff … older people on the team with a lot of experience, picking their brains, and the coaching staff.”

Where is Evan Carter from?

Carter is a native of Elizabethton, Tenn., and went to Elizabethton High. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Carter had an abbreviated senior season. According to The Dallas Morning News, he had just three games in the 2020 season. But as a hitter and pitcher, he hit .324 with four home runs and had a 1.34 ERA with six complete games in his high school career.

Carter made the most of his time in high school. He was the valedictorian of his class, according to MLB Pipeline, and he met his wife Kaylen while they were in school. Per The Dallas Morning News, they met in middle school and were married in Dec. 17, 2022, in their home town of Elizabethton.

Evan Carter college

Carter committed to play baseball at Duke but wound up being drafted 50th overall by the Rangers out of high school and decided to sign with Texas rather than go to college.

The pick at the time was considered dubious by many. The MLB draft was only five rounds in 2020 due to the pandemic, and the pick was seen as a major reach, with Carter not listed on any draft projections from the major outlets, according to MLB Pipeline. Jim Callis wrote in the article it was the first time in his 35 years covering the draft he had never heard of a top-three-round pick.

Those who did know of Carter, including MLB Network’s Dan O’Dowd, questioned the pick, and said he should go to college instead.

“It’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life,” Carter told MLB Pipeline. “Well, I just got married [in December], and that was the happiest day of my life. Up until that point, you’re hey, this is awesome, and then you’re getting blasted on Twitter, like, ‘Who is this person?’ ‘Dumb pick,’ whatever.

“You just try to make the people who believe in you proud, make the Rangers proud, they believe in me. I don’t blame you all. You can’t know what you don’t know.”

DeCOURCY: MLB needs a salary cap to ensure competitive balance

Per MLB Pipeline, the Rangers found out about Carter because Carter’s dad, Jason Carter, played youth baseball with Danny Clark, who went on to join the Rangers’ organization. Clark told Callis that Jason Carter would occasionally hype up his son. Clark was unable to see Evan play in person, so he sent scout Derrick Tucker to Tennessee to watch Carter play.

“By the summer going into his senior year, [Eastern crosschecker] Ryan Coe and I had filed aggressive follow reports on him,” Tucker told MLB Pipeline. “We looked at the body type and the athlete and we thought this guy could really pop. His approach, his athleticism and tools, his age was 17 at the draft, his dad was a big guy and athletic. There was a lot of reason for optimism.”

Few other teams saw Carter play because his region does not have a long track record of producing big-league talent, and so few teams sent scouts to see the schools in that area. And even though his senior season was cut short, Tucker said he was at all of Carter’s games in 2020 before the pandemic shut down the season. 

That didn’t mean Tucker was completely unheard of. MLB Pipeline reported the Pirates and Royals had known about Carter and had interest, and the Rangers were aware either could take him. That’s why in the second round of the draft, the Rangers jumped at the chance to take him before anyone else could.

Rangers scouting director Kip Fagg said he was surprised to see the reactions to the selection, and told MLB Pipeline that had 2020 not been cut short, everyone would have known about Carter.

“The Pirates and Royals scared me, but there wasn’t the normal amount of teams. All of our guys loved the kid. His tools, his approach, he was a middle-of-the-field player, the makeup — he checked every box,” Fagg said.

“We thought he was way better than the industry thought,” he continued. “I was a tad surprised by the reaction of the media because I’m not going to take some dude in the second round who I pulled out of my [butt].”

It didn’t take long for the baseball world to get to know Carter. Each year he’s been in baseball, he’s risen up the prospect rankings. In 2021, he was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Rangers’ No. 16 prospect. In 2022, he was the team’s No. 9 prospect. In 2023, he has risen all the way to being the team’s top prospect and the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball.

How tall is Evan Carter?

Carter stands 6-2, 190 pounds. The left-handed swinging, right-handed thrower shares the distinction as the team’s tallest outfielder with Travis Jankowski and Leody Taveras. Jonah Heim, Nathaniel Lowe and Corey Seager, all listed at 6-4, are the only taller position players on the roster.

Evan Carter stats

In just 23 regular-season games for the Rangers, Carter has impressed. He has posted a 1.058 OPS (.413 on-base percentage and .645 slugging percentage) with five home runs and three stolen bases. He walked 12 times and struck out 24 times.

This postseason, he’s continued his high level of play. He has posted a 1.236 OPS (.536 OBP and .700 SLG) with a home runs, one stolen base and seven walks to just four strikeouts through the first two games of the ALCS.

If there has been any blemish to Carter’s career beginning, it has been his struggles against left-handed pitching. In the regular season, he was hitless against southpaws with just a walk and six strikeouts in 11 plate-appearances. He has one playoff hit against lefties in five at-bats, and has added another walk but with three strikeouts.

Carter’s plate discipline has always been his most impressive trait. When he was in high school, he had the nickname, “Full Count Carter,” according to MLB Pipeline, because of his patience, though that patience was the biggest question mark on him.

“Literally the only question we had was does he really see the ball that well or is he passive?” Tucker said. “He either had one of the best eyes and approaches I had ever scouted or he was passive. That was a debate we had internally.

“I saw him strike out three times looking in one game and they weren’t strikes. I asked him about it and he said he would get himself out if he didn’t swing at strikes. He just really knows the strike zone that well.”

Year Level Age G PA HR SB BB% K% AVG/OBP/SLG
2021 A 18 32 146 2 12 23.3% 19.2% .236/.438/.387
2022 A+ 19 100 447 11 26 13.2% 16.8% .287/.388/.476
2022 AA 19 6 28 1 2 17.9% 21.4% .429/.536/.714
2023 CPX 20 3 12 1 1 25.0% 16.7% .222/.417/.667
2023 AA 20 97 462 12 22 16.0% 22.3% .284/.411/.451
2023 AAA 20 8 39 0 3 10.3% 15.4% .353/.436/.382
2023 MLB 20 23 75 5 3 16.0% 32.0% .306/.413/.645

Evan Carter contract, salary

When Carter was signed by the Rangers, he agreed to a $1.25 million signing bonus, a large deal in an effort to keep him from signing with Duke, per MLB Pipeline.

The minimum MLB salary is $720,000 per year. However, since he was not promoted until August, he did not earn all of that paycheck, and instead would have had his earnings split between the minors and his brief time in the majors. His exact earnings are not public information.

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