3) Matt Carpenter
Matt Carpenter was quietly one of the NL's best offensive players throughout the 2010s. He was an on-base machine, and anchored the Cardinals' lineup, often from the leadoff spot, for 10 glorious seasons. Between 2012 and 2018, Carpenter smashed 135 homers and 263 doubles. He hit .275 and carried an on-base percentage of .377 over that seven-season stretch. He was, according to OPS+, roughly 31% better than a league-average hitter over that span.
Even with such an impressive offensive resume, Carpenter only hit .300 twice in his career. This is likely due to his overly selective approach at the plate, which allowed him to rack up walks and pad his on-base percentage, even while sacrificing some hits. He hit .318 in 2013, which was probably his best season as a Cardinal. That year, Carpenter finished fourth in MVP voting and led all of baseball with 199 hits and 55 doubles. He also surpassed the .300 mark in 2022 in a wild season with the Yankees.
Deep Dive: While Carpenter was establishing himself as an offensive star in 2013, three other lineup fixtures were also putting together .300 seasons of their own. They included Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, and Allen Craig. Craig was in his final full season as a Cardinal. He was nothing short of incredible. He would finish 19th in MVP voting and captured the lone all-star selection of his career. Craig, who would hit .315 that season, was putting together his third consecutive season with an average above .300 with the Cardinals.
After a 2014 midseason trade to Boston, Craig's career ended abruptly. Just as quickly as he'd burst onto the scene in 2011, Craig was out of major league baseball by mid-2015. He would never again reach the majors. Craig was an integral part of both the 2011 team and the 2013 team and was known for his ability to come up clutch in big moments. He also caught the last out of the 2011 World Series, clinching it for the Cardinals.