Feldman: Where does Matt Carpenter fit going forward

Feldman: Where does Matt Carpenter fit going forward

Feldman: Where does Matt Carpenter fit going forward

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by Brian Feldman / BaseballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on November 19, 2012 at 1:43 PM

(BaseballStL) -- Being labeled a "super sub" is one of the oddest things.  You like it because it's got the word super in it.  Who doesn't want to be called super? 

It's the ultimate compliment, right?

But when you add in the word sub it changes the entire dynamic of it.  You're just a sub.  Like, a substitute.  A backup.  Someone who isn't good enough to be a starter.

So...super sub?  Isn't that like getting a 7th place ribbon at the science fair? 

Matt Carpenter has worked and now found his way into a quite a little conundrum here in St. Louis.  Well, conundrum's the wrong word.  That suggests it's his problem.  A legitimate problem.

In fact, it's not.  Carpenter's biggest issue is he has developed into someone who SHOULD be an everyday starter but happens to play four - yes, four - positions that are taken.

His natural position of third base?  Some former NLCS and World Series MVP David Freese.

So Carpenter taught himself to play first base.  Um, Allen Craig owns that now. 

Left field?  Matt Holliday. 

Right field?  Carlos Beltran with Oscar Taveras ready to take over sooner rather than later.

So what does hitting .296 with a .365 on-base percentage in your first full season in the major leagues get you?  For Carpenter, it's being told to learn a FIFTH position (second base) this off-season so he can be a backup somewhere else.

At 6'3" and 200 pounds Carpenter does not fit the mold of your typical second baseman.  He's a corner infielder who can handle the corner outfield spots.  But middle infield?  I'd highly doubt he'd have the range to make plays that Daniel Descalso makes in his sleep.

Any other organization and the 26-year old Texas native would have earned a starting spot by now.  You don't do what he did (.412 OBP and a 1.045 OPS with runners in scoring position and two outs) last year and not earn an abundance of playing time.

But that just goes to show, again, how deep this Cardinals team is.  They're stacked.  When you compete for a championship every single year you're not supposed to have starting jobs available.  It makes it that much harder for prospects working their way up the system to crack into it.

Matt Carpenter is finding that out the hard way.  He'll likely remain a top backup just because that's all the room they can find for him.  He could end up being traded if the Cardinals get a team to give them something they simply can't turn down. 

It's impossible to predict.  But that's the reality.

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