Drafted out of TCU, Matt Carpenter was - at the time - nothing more than an organization body who projected as a possible bench player in St. Louis someday.
Bench player, no more.
I don’t care if it’s at third base, first base, second base, left field, right field, catcher, pitcher or they find a position for him on the moon. The Cardinals need to find a spot for this man in the lineup every single day. Sure, he’ll get days off like anyone else. But so do Allen Craig and Matt Holliday. Carpenter needs to get just as many at-bats as them.
Just watch this guy. Watch the way, with such little effort, he gets the barrel through the zone and squares up pitches with ease. Watch the way he uses his hips to generate gap power that wasn’t present just a few short years ago.
Most importantly. Watch the way he works. You’d be hard pressed to find a harder worker in that clubhouse. The son of a coach, Matt Carpenter understands what true passion entails. It’s one thing to go through the motions in the batting cage and say ‘Hey, I put in my work today’. It’s quite another to dedicate yourself.
Make no mistake about it. Matt Carpenter dedicates himself to the sport.
He’s the first one on the field to get his work in and he’s the last one to leave. He asks questions. He soaks up knowledge of those who are more experienced. And it’s paying off.
Three for his first nine so far, every single one of Carpenter’s hits have been for extra bases. That is significant. Slapping singles all over the place is nice, but not nearly as valuable as giving a runner on first (who by definition is not in scoring position) a chance to cross home plate.
A career .359 on-base percentage, Carpenter also knows the value of patience. You can hit him nearly anywhere in the lineup. Mike Matheny seems to enjoy hitting him 2nd but once David Freese returns I’d expect Carlos Beltran to move to that spot in the lineup with Carpenter becoming depth towards the bottom, maybe 7th.
He’s successfully shown he can play second base, a position previously foreign to him. He’s successfully shown he will grow as a hitter and work on improving his weaknesses. There’s very little Matt Carpenter has not shown.
A 13th round pick out of TCU, I think it’s safe to say Carpenter has defied his draft status and overachieved given the original expectation.
And he’ll be around St. Louis for a while.