Astros and Chris Carter avoid arbitration

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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Astros and DH Chris Carter have avoided arbitration with a one-year deal worth $4.175 million. Carter was eligible for arbitration for the first of four years.

Carter, 28, had a breakout season for the Astros in 2014, batting .227/.308/.491 with 37 home runs and 88 RBI in 572 plate appearances. Part of his offensive success can be attributed to striking out 30 fewer times than he did in 2013 in a comparable amount of PA’s.

Carter was taken by the White Sox in the 15th round of the 2005 draft. He went to the Diamondbacks in the Carlos Quentin deal in December 2007 and shortly thereafter went to the Athletics (along with Carlos Gonzalez and Brett Anderson) in the Dan Haren trade. The Astros acquired him in February 2013 in the Jed Lowrie trade.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

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Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.