Feldman: Competition at second base among biggest surprises

Feldman: Competition at second base among biggest surprises

Credit: Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 21: Matt Carpenter #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals is unable to field a ground ball in the fourth inning while taking on the San Francisco Giants in Game Six of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park on October 21, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


by Brian Feldman / BaseballSTL


Posted on March 15, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 12:51 PM

(BaseballStL) -- There were a lot of ways this could have gone.  A lot. 

You could have seen Matt Carpenter take noticeable steps towards becoming a certified major league second baseman with Daniel Descalso continuing his .227 hitting ways.

You could have seen the opposite, Carpenter struggling to make the transition while Descalso reemerges as the starter he always was.

You could have seen both struggle.

Instead, you saw none of the above.  Daniel Descalso has shown everyone this spring why he’s the incumbent starter - batting .314 - and playing the terrific defense he’s always played.  Meanwhile, Matt Carpenter flat out looks like he belongs at second.  The converted corner infielder/corner outfielder has had all of a few months work at becoming a second baseman yet he looks as if he’s been playing it his entire life.

Who do you want to see at second base for the Cardinals? Share your thoughts.

Carpenter’s turned double plays.  He’s moved to his left, moved to his right, thrown to first base while falling towards second.  The TCU alum has done it all.  And he’s doing it as smooth as most lifelong second basemen.

Oh, and by the way, he’s hitting .382 with a .462 on-base percentage.

And when you finally wrap your mind around the fact Descalso and Carpenter have played this well, causing quite a conundrum for divvying up playing time, you’ve got the so-called future at second base (Kolten Wong) hitting .316 with half of his hits coming by way of extra bases.

Second base has been a position that’s defined instability in the past.  From Tony Womack to Mark Grudzielanek to Adam Kennedy to Aaron Miles to Skip Schumaker to now, it’s been a revolving door ever since Fernando Vina roamed that spot many moons ago.

Could that be changing?

It’s impossible to know if Descalso’s newfound confidence in his swing will translate towards an entire regular season.  It’s equally impossible to know if Carpenter’s seemingly easy transition to second will translate into the regular season as well.  And it’s even more impossible to know if Wong will become what many think he can become.  Prospects are, well, prospects for a reason.  They haven’t proven anything yet.

But the competition at second base has turned into something very few would have expected several months back.  There are serious contenders to provide some impact production, as opposed to just choosing the least of two evils. 

Competition brings out the best in everyone.  Either you’re good enough or you’re not.  If you think you are, show it.

And that’s precisely what’s taken place at second base this spring training.