Today, we will have a look at the number 14 prospect on Fangraphs top 15 Cardinals prospects. Matt Carpenter was drafted in the thirteenth round of the 2009 draft. He was a standout player at TCU before joining the organization, and was placed in the low minors to start his career. Carpenter ascended quickly, jumping from low A to AAA in just two years. Most of his success happened at AA in 2010, when he was named a Texas League All Star after a solid campaign. Carpenter put together a great spring training in an attempt to earn a roster spot with the 2011 team but ended up being optioned to the Memphis Redbirds. He put on his best offensive showing and earned a spot with the 2012 team thanks to the departures of Albert Pujols and Nick Punto and the early season injury to Allen Craig. In spring training, Carpenter worked at his natural position of third base, but also got reps in at first base and in the outfield to improve his versatility. It paid off as Carpenter is now one of the Cardinals best bench options.
This season, Carpenter has spent the bulk of the year with the major league team. He has appeared in 100 games thus far and sports a .303 average. He has five home runs, but is more of a timely singles hitter. Carpenter has seen his walk rate cut in half, but also lowered his strikeout rate slightly. Due to being on the same team as David Freese, I don’t see him taking over as the Cardinals everyday third baseman anytime soon. I think Carpenter has really found his ideal role as a utility option off the bench.
After a strong 2012 showing, Carpenter is a lock to make the 2013 roster. Because of that, I don’t see him on many prospect lists next season. If he does appear, I think he could crack the top ten, but the results we are seeing this year may represent his upside.