EVERETT — When it comes to Carter Bins, the front-facing numbers can be a bit deceiving.
The Everett catcher, who went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI to lead the AquaSox to an 8-6 win over Hillsboro on Monday at Funko Field, is hitting just .196 this season, but the coaches have been thrilled with Bins’ progress at the plate, defensively and in the clubhouse.
“As a coaching staff, we had a meeting with him the other day and we were just singing his praises about how well he prepares and how he’s really developing into a leader,” AquaSox manager Louis Boyd said. “He’s really looking like he’s taking the next step to perform on a daily basis at a high level.”
From the point of view of a baseball traditionalist, Bins’ first season has been a disappointment. He’s batting below .200 and has no doubles or triples.
But his peripheral numbers tell a different story.
Bins’ on-base percentage (OBP) is second among Everett hitters at .397 — behind only Patrick Frick’s .418 — and his .238 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is the third lowest on the team, suggesting he’s been the victim of some bad luck.
“When we were down in Eugene, I was seeing the ball well … but there was some jam shots that turned into hits and some line drives that were caught,” he said. “But it all works itself out.”
That’s the attitude the AquaSox coaching staff has lauded Bins for throughout the season.
“He does a really good job of staying patient, whether he’s getting a hit or not,” Boyd said. “In a large period of time, the results will take care of themselves because he’s swinging at good pitches.”
To emphasize that point, Boyd said pitch tracking data indicates Bins swings at a high percentage of pitches inside the strike zone and is below the major-league average on the percentage of pitches he swings at that are outside the zone.
Bins’ profile coming into the draft was that of a plus receiver behind the plate with some pop in his bat. While he’s struggled to hit for average, Bins’ power has been present all season. He smacked his sixth homer of the season Monday.
The Fresno State product started the season OK, hitting .235 with two homers, but hit a nasty slump in July, when he hit just .138 with two homers.
Throughout his struggles, Bins has shown a propensity for taking his walks, with a 17.8 walk percentage. The fact that he’s been a magnet for errant pitches doesn’t hurt his OBP either. He’s been plunked a league-high 10 times this season.
“I think I’m just not afraid to wear pitches,” Bins said. “I don’t really get out of the way.”
On Monday night, Bins picked up his first RBI in the first inning on a single to left to put the AquaSox up 2-1. He then ambushed a first-pitch offering and drove it over the right-center field wall in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 3-1.
“Every swing he took tonight was aggressive and violent,” Boyd said. “I’m sure the pitchers were scared to pitch to him, especially after that home run. As long as he keeps living up to that mark he holds to himself, he’s going to have a lot more success here.”