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Grapefruit Juice: The case for Chris Carter

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Carter Country (USAT)

I can't promise you Chris Carter will be a regular in Houston all season. I can't say much about Carter's defense, and I can't whistle an optimistic tune about his strikeouts.

But if you're looking to find 25-30 cheap homers (and maybe a few more) in the current power-depressed rotisserie landscape, stay with me. It's time to investigate another late-round sleeper.

Carter's raw power was on full display Sunday afternoon, as he connected for a pair of moon-shot homers in Kissimmee. Carter wasn't picking on some poor Double-A rag arm here; the round trippers came off Toronto star Brandon Morrow. Carter now has four homers this month in 42 at-bats.

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The pessimists in the crowd will quickly note Carter's .238 spring average and 14 strikeouts. Yep, that's part of the profile here. Even when you mix in four walks, Carter's OBP is below .300. But a .548 slugging percentage is enough for the Astros to overlook some warts, and Carter's right-handed power stroke should be a delightful fit for the Crawford Boxes in his new home park.

Carter only batted .239 in his Oakland trial last year (67 games, 218 at-bats) along with a whopping 83 strikeouts, but the rest of the picture is encouraging. He drew 39 walks, pushing his OBP up to a solid .350, and his 16 homers contributed to a .514 slugging percentage. Carter clocked 11 of his taters on the road and slugged .557 out of a suitcase – he's not going to miss the Oakland mausoleum at all. He's entering his age-26 season, and there's an impressive minor-league resume.

The Astros are giving Carter a shot to win the left field job (he currently qualifies at first base only), not that he's much of an outfielder. He might see some time at first base and he might see time at DH, depending on what goes down with Brett Wallace and Carlos Pena. Carter doesn't have much of a platoon split but you never know, maybe the Astros will put him into a time share. But if they commit to Carter as a regular, I'm excited about the home run potential.

Carter is unowned in 92 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and his ADP is off the reservation. If you want to take a chance, the price is dirt cheap. Feel like getting in on the ground floor? Let's take some hacks in the comments.

And speaking of sleepers, here are some possible NCAA Cinderellas for your pools and brackets. We're all about the cross training at Yahoo! Sports. Survive and advance.

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