Ranked as the No. 22 prospect in the Detroit Tigers organization this season, former Virginia Tech slugger Kerry Carpenter earned his major league promotion late Tuesday night in anticipation of making his MLB debut on Wednesday night when Detroit hosted Cleveland at Comerica Park (7:10 p.m. EDT, Bally Sports affiliates).
As of Tuesday night, Carpenter was leading all levels of Minor League Baseball this year with his 30 combined home runs, having hit 22 homers with the Erie SeaWolves (Class AA) prior to receiving his June 25 call-up to the Toledo Mud Hens (Class AAA). After 34 Triple-A appearances, the left-handed batter had a .331 batting average with a 1.064 OPS. He had 11 doubles, a triple, and eight home runs and had drawn 17 walks against 17 strikeouts.
Spending his freshman and sophomore seasons at St. John’s River State College in Palatka, Fla., Carpenter transferred to Virginia Tech ahead of the 2019 season. Syncing up with the Hokies during head coach John Szefc‘s second season in Blacksburg, the 6-foot-2 native of Eustis, Fla, started each of the team’s 53 games, leading Tech’s maturing offense in doubles (13), home runs (10) and RBIs (45).
Leading the Hokies’ 2019 MLB Draft class, Carpenter was selected during the 19th round by the Tigers, elevating his batting average from .272 at Tech to .319 at the rookie level with the Gulf Coast League Tigers. Following the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he began the 2021 campaign in Double-A with Erie, recording 24 doubles and 15 home runs, scoring 57 runs with 74 RBIs across 112 appearances in the Eastern League.
Finding a new gear to his game during 2022, Carpenter improved tremendously during his second Double-A campaign in Erie, batting .411 with 13 home runs and a 1.393 OPS during the month of May. With the pro club stumbling through June, he was bumped up to join Toledo during the last week of June, delivering nine hits during his first six games with the Mud Hens (.474 batting average).
Detroit appears to be selecting Carpenter’s contract at the right time. On Sunday in Iowa, he connected on a second-inning grand slam that sent Toledo out to an early 8-0 lead against the Iowa Cubs.
Carpenter is seeking to become the 22nd Virginia Tech baseball alumnus to make his MLB debut, following reliever Packy Naughton (2021 debut, Los Angeles Angels).