St. Louis Cardinals: Deserving All-Star Candidates
Matt Carpenter (3B/2B)
Matt Carpenter‘s days as a diamond in the rough, the most underrated player in baseball, are numbered. He’s now being called a left-handed Jose Bautista, a player reaching superstardom.
It’s no secret that Carpenter is quickly being revealed to the rest of the league as an elite player, something St. Louis Cardinals fans have known since his 55-double 2013 season.
He’s an atypical leadoff hitter, with as much power as arguably any other bat in the lineup, and one of the best eyes in the league. His strikeout rate, one of his only issues in 2015, has gone down 5 points from 23% to 18%. His walk rate is at an impressive 17%, and has gotten on base 40% of the time, while hitting .300.
And his wRC+, which evaluates a player’s offensive value in terms of runs with a league average of 100, is 166. If the number alone doesn’t impress you, this will: the only players with higher wRC+’s this season are David Ortiz, Mike Trout, and Jose Altuve. Fairly good company.
Carpenter’s quandary when it comes to All-Star candidacy, however, is his position. He’s on the ballot as a third baseman, which has been for the majority of the season and is probably where he should be (on the ballot, not on the field).
His competition at 3B includes Kris Bryant, the ever-popular Cubs prodigy who’s having an excellent season, and Colorado’s Nolan Arenado, whose traditional stats make a good case for him to be placed above Carpenter. (It’s worth noting, however, that in terms of wRC+, Bryant is 14th in the league, and Arenado is 36th.)
Were Carpenter on the ballot as a second baseman, he would easily take the cake as the All-Star starter, and probably hold the title as the best overall second baseman in the National League. Hopefully, he’ll make the team as a reserve.
Next: Aledmys Diaz