Feldman: Matt Carpenter is proof Cards have an embarrassment of riches

Feldman: Matt Carpenter is proof Cards have an embarrassment of riches

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 8: Matt Carpenter #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals slides into third base after hitting a triple against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium on August 8, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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by Brian Feldman / News 4 Sports

KMOV.com

Posted on August 12, 2012 at 9:34 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 12 at 9:37 PM

(BaseballStL) -- When I was in spring training this past March a scout from another club came up to me in the press box and asked about Matt Carpenter.  He wanted to know my thoughts on if the youngster would not only make the team but if he'd play much.

I told him, yes, he most likely would be on the 25-man roster...but was not sure he'd play much.  I mean...there's some pretty good players in front of him.

Well, we're more than half way through the season -- heck, we're more than 70% done -- and Carpenter's game Sunday against the Phillies (4-6, 3 RBIs) got me thinking.

Wouldn't the vast majority of teams in major league baseball love to have him starting for them somewhere?

Yet, here he is with arguably the league's best offense and he's stuck behind the likes of Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, David Freese, Allen Craig and Lance Berkman.

Mike Matheny actually put the corner infielder/outfielder at 2nd base one day just to get him in the lineup.  That's how badly this guy deserves to play.  Yet he's only received 186 at-bats this year because, well, there's just no clear cut path for him to be an everyday guy here.

Look at his numbers though.  His .312 batting average is tied for 3rd highest on the team and only 3 measly points behind the top spot (yes, I'm aware he's gotten a fraction of the ABs as some of the others).  And his .385 OBP is 5th...just 9 points behind the leader in Matt Holliday.

I can't sit here and tell you over the course of 500 at-bats that Carpenter would continue to produce like this.  Sometimes when a player has success in a certain role it's best to leave them in that role for fear of overexposing them.

But doesn't Carpenter deserve a chance to show he can't do more before he's dubbed a utility guy?  You're talking about a 26-year old kid with only 81 games of big league experience and he's putting together quality at-bats that would make Tony Gwynn proud.

However, there lies the problem.  Where you going to put him?  David Freese owns 3rd base as long as he stays healthy.  Allen Craig occupies 1st.  Matt Holliday's in left for the next half decade.  And Carlos Beltran will man right field until Oscar Taveras is ready.  I just named 5 All Stars or potential All Stars right there.

That's insane.  That's the depth this Cardinals team can roll out at you.  You've got someone as good as Carpenter who is every bit worthy of playing every single day yet he's stuck behind a bunch of stars.

It's a great problem to have if you're GM John Mozeliak or manager Mike Matheny.  But if you're Matt Carpenter and wanting to prove you deserve more?  Well, you're just going to have to be patient and wait.

Wait for what exactly?  That's the $64,000 question.

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