Player Profile: Matt Carpenter

Matt Carpenter
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Carpenter has Cardinal fans and fantasy owners scratching their heads once again. A career .280 hitter is struggling to post a batting average much higher than .210. He could be flirting with the mendoza line soon if tides don’t change. Carpenter hits in the two hole of a somewhat slugging Cardinals lineup (26th overall In Runs Scored). This spot in the batting order is usually reserved for the best overall hitter on the club. Could that be Carpenter??? I say absolutely. Carpenter has an extremely controlled approach at the plate. He walks 16% of the time, which ranks him in the top ten in all of baseball. Part of this patience comes from his refusal to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone. This is backed up by his incredible 18% O-Swing % which places him 4th best in the league. Breaking down his batted ball profile there is a lot to get excited about; including his 43% Hard hit rate, his solid 90.77 AEV (Average Exit Velo), and his .56 GB/FB rate. This combination should set him up well for both power production and healthy batting average. One of the problems early on for Carpenter has been his .241 BABIP (batting average on balls in play). This is outrageously low for a hitter of his magnitude and doesn’t match up at all with his career norm of .325. The other standout to me is his extreme fly ball launch angle of 21.71 degrees. We do want to see a higher launch angle for Home Runs but Carpenter is nearing dangerous heights. Rest assured, the most likely outcome is that his BABIP rebounds and that his HR pace improves to nearing a career high of 30. Carpenter is too good of an overall hitter to not finish with a batting average above .250/.260. His unlucky start to the season appears to be just that… unlucky. Look for Carpenter to make a strong showing at plate in months to come, bringing himself within striking distance of his normal .270 batting average and putting up power numbers that may turn some heads.

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