Mike Carp is hitting a lot like David Ortiz lately. It isn’t by accident.
“I always joke with [Ortiz],” Carp said, according to MassLive.com. “I say, ‘I try to be like you.’”
Carp may be joking to a certain extent, but he admitted following Saturday’s 5-4 victory over the Orioles that he tries to focus on what makes Ortiz great so that he can apply it to his own game. The approach has worked wonders recently, as Carp enters Sunday’s series finale in Baltimore with five home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 10 games. He’s hitting .400 (17-for-43) in June.
“Any chance I can get to talk to [Ortiz] about hitting, watch what was he doing, ask a few questions, especially his cage work,” Carp said. “I want to see what he’s doing with his hands, and how he’s using his body. Just focusing on what his hands are doing that day. Because you know, if in the game I’m hitting two batters behind him, or like [Saturday], I’m right behind him, chances are they’re going to pitch me pretty similar. So if I’m watching what he’s doing and seeing what he’s doing, and he’s got a book on this guy, it gives me a better chance to succeed.”
Carp’s numbers are certainly Ortiz-esque. If anyone tells you that they expected this type of breakout from Carp, however, they’re most likely lying. The 26-year-old flashed some power with the Mariners in a part-time role in recent years, but Seattle didn’t value him enough to keep him around.
“For them to let me go for nothing, kind of gave up on me, definitely fueled the fire a little bit this year,” Carp said. “Just out to prove everybody wrong.”
Carp is doing just that. He enters Sunday’s game with a .320 average, eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 41 games (113 plate appearances) this season. In fact, his .680 slugging percentage is second among major league players with at least 100 plate appearances. He trails only Chris Davis (.684), who is an early MVP candidate.
Now, Carp is unlikely to jump in the MVP race alongside Davis, but it’s certainly getting to a point where manager John Farrell might want to find ways to get him regular at-bats. Ortiz is already at that point.
“The most impressive thing is he comes every day, trying to make himself better,” Ortiz told MassLive.com. “And the things that we talk about, because of the intensity that I see in him. Trying to get better every day, I try to break it down easier for him every day. That’s a guy that definitely he needs to, at some point, whenever he gets the chance, whenever this ball club can give him the chance: he’s an everyday player.”
Not only does Ortiz think Carp is an everyday player, but he sees a little bit of himself in the left-handed hitting outfielder/first baseman.
“I think that coming over here, and watching a good left-handed hitter consistently every day, it gave him ideas,” Ortiz reportedly said. “Because it happened to me. Because I was like him. I got here, I saw good hitters. He’s a smart guy. He’s a guy that wants to get better every day. That was my situation when I first got here — boom.
“You know what I’m saying? Same thing is happening to him. Look at the numbers that he has put up not even playing every day. Sick. And he’s been coming through for us. You throw him in the outfield, you throw him at first base. You get the job done. Those are the things that you want to see in young players.”
Correction, David: Those are the things you want to see in all players. Carp is just ahead of the curve right now, and the hot stretch might continue if he keeps taking notes from one of the greats.