St. Louis Cardinals: Top five standouts so far this season

5 of 6

May 16, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman

Matt Carpenter

(13) hits a solo home run ball during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

2) Matt Carpenter whittling away pitchers

Remember a few years’ back when Matt Carpenter finished fourth in the National League MVP voting?

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Well, apparently Carp is back for a reunion tour this season. His numbers to-date are near-identical to his MVP-caliber 2013 season when he smacked 55 doubles and racked up 199 base hits, as he’s batting .328/.391/.619 through the first month-and-a-half of the season.

After missing a weekend series against Pittsburgh due to “extreme fatigue,” Carpenter returned to action, picking up right where he left off. He’s batting .308 with a .615 slugging percentage over the past week and already has seven homers and 16 doubles to his credit this season.

It doesn’t seem to matter where you pencil him in defensively, Carpenter always handles his business at the dish. What makes him so dangerous is he’s just as tough an out for right-handers as he is lefties, despite batting from the left-side himself.

Gap power and a patient approach at the plate have turned the Cardinals’ third baseman into a perennial All-Star. With his sights set on 200 hits, 2015 could be a big year for Matt Carpenter.

Next: 1) It's Christmas in May for a Cards' outfielder