This story was excerpted from Jason Beck’s Tigers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.
What does it feel like for a hitter when he gets on a tear like Kerry Carpenter did in May, when he hit .411 with 13 home runs in 24 games for Double-A Erie?
“It doesn’t matter really what’s being thrown at me,” Carpenter described the feeling back in June. “If I’m right with my approach and right with my swing, I feel like I could hit anything. It’s a good feeling.”
What is it like when that tear sends you on a path that carries you to the big leagues a few months later? We began to find out Wednesday, when Carpenter made his Major League debut. He went 0-for-4 vs. the Guardians.
All summer, people in and around the Tigers organization have wondered whether Carpenter’s power can play in the big leagues. As chronicled here, Carpenter took a chance on his career by undergoing a swing change late in the offseason in search for more power, a change that didn’t pay off until a month into the Minor League season.
With the exception of some mini-slumps here and there, Carpenter hasn’t stopped hitting. Even when he hit one homer in his first 14 games at Triple-A Toledo, he hit .386 with seven doubles. Once Carpenter adjusted to International League pitching, he…