What is wrong with Carpenter and what should be done?

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This topic contains 148 replies, has 27 voices, and was last updated by Avatar SoonerinNC 3 months ago.

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  • #61243
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    14NyquisT
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    Remember back on April 16th when this topic was started:

    Brian Walton

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    When a career .275 batter is hitting .160 and striking out at a 28.8% rate compared to his career mark of 18.3%, it suggests something may be wrong. Then there is his on-going shoulder/back issues.April 16, 2018 at 12:01 pm #49057REPLY
    Brian Walton

    And this:

    Brian Walton

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    This topic deserves its own thread. Just saw this relevant tidbit.

    Kevin Wheeler Show
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    There are 96 qualified hitters in the National League. Among them, Matt Carpenter ranks 92nd in batting average, 96th in swing percentage & 94th in contact rate. #STLCards

    12:58 PM – Apr 16, 2018

    There were some other comments showing concern about Carpenter’s very slow start. HE turned it around and is now in contention for MVP.

    #61322
    bicyclemike
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    He really has turned it around. One of the more amazing hitting displays of late that I can recall from a Cardinal.

    Now let’s just hope we are not re-visiting this in late September going “Carpenter has gone back to his early season form – 2 hits in his last 33 plate appearances, with 18 strikeouts. What a streaky season he has had.

    #61324
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    Cardinals2016
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    We all know what the problem was. The Cardinals insisted in trying to put Carpenter somewhere else in the lineup besides leadoff, and he can only hit leadoff.

    Maybe they’ve finally learned?

    #61347
    Brian Walton
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    Isn’t that something, though? I refused to believe it before, but where he hits in the lineup is clearly in Carpenter’s head. Too bad, as I can only imagine they would be scoring more runs if he was hitting all these home runs and extra base hits from a more-traditional RBI spot in the lineup. I do not fault the Cardinals one bit for having tried, but it has failed multiple times now. Leadoff he is.

    Still, I look at an Oscar Mercado and wonder what a difference a real top of the order guy could mean to the offense. Pressure on the defense instead of boring station-to-station ball. When the current guys in the lineup try to press it, they end up making mistakes on the bases. Even Oquendo cannot make guys run like thoroughbreds who are not.

    #61355
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    I do not fault the Cardinals one bit for having tried,

    I fault them for repeatedly trying and getting the same results every year, then trying it again the next year. The definition of insanity…

    #61357
    Brian Walton
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    I believe they tried it in two different seasons. Carpenter encouraged it, denying he had an issue. And the data certainly supported the idea.

    Are you saying you knew it the first time, or are you taking advantage of hindsight? His repeated failure certainly flew in the face of conventional wisdom.

    I imagine it was Matheny’s doing, as all reports were that he set his lineups, but whether it was his idea or it was somehow forced on him, it seemed a good idea to try. It is not as if the Cards had anyone to consistently drive in runs. In fact, they still don’t. Their best bet is the guy whose defense is so bad, they can’t play him.

    #61363
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    Cardinals27
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    The first time Carpenter was moved out of the leadoff spot should have been the only attempt. Apparently leadoff is where he thrives.

    #61367
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    Are you saying you knew it the first time, or are you taking advantage of hindsight?

    Brian, I have been arguing this the past two seasons. There was one poster on here last year, I forget who, that insisted there was nothing to Carpenter only hitting leadoff, because there is no rationale for it. Like you said, I think it’s all in his head. I even argued it was in his head and pointed out he has a different approach at the plate when batting leadoff.

    So, yes, I consider the front office INSANE for insisting on doing this in both 2017 and 2018.

    Just like I consider them INSANE for recommitting to Fowler.

    #61371
    Brian Walton
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    What is insane is Carpenter’s hitting!

    #61379
    stlcard25
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    Brian, if Mercado can keep up his offensive renaissance, he would be the perfect fourth OF type for this team. If they could move on from Fowler, Oscar’s speed on the bases and low K rate would be solid for a leadoff guy.

    Long term I like the defense and power that Bader, Mercado and O’Neill would bring to an OF. I’m just not sure if Bader and Mercado are more than a 4th OF unless they’re CFers. They’re probably not every day corner guys.

    #61644
    Brian Walton
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    Hardly a surprise but still good to see…

    #61650
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    14NyquisT
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    25, what I always remember about “new” rookies is when they get here they have to produce. Its no guarantee, and it could be a slow process. Few burst on the scene, and some of those later enter the fizzlement zone. Few are automatic long-term regs.

    That said, I’d love to see Mercado in St Louis for his defense alone.

    #69981
    Ratsbuddy
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    In light of his streakiness and the fact that when he is bad he is really bad, does anybody believe this off-season is the time to trade Carpenter and see if we cant get something good in return?

    He’s been just about pitiful the last three weeks.

    r/Rat

    #69982
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    RememberDiz
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    The fact that Carpenter seems unable to work his way out of these slumps somewhat quickly suggests something other than just a mechanical problem. He isn’t that good on defense to cover a 270 hitter. That’s not high enough for leadoff. He has had freakish power numbers this year, but all in one month or so. The rest of the time, he has been a liability.

    I’d rather take a chance on being able to teach Martinez to play first, or maybe Goryko as we bring up a third baseman. May need to find a place for O’Neil. Carpenter may have more value to others than to us.

    #69987
    stlcard25
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    I thought a leadoff hitter’s job was to get on base, not have a high batting average? Carpenter is 3rd in the majors in OBP for leadoff hitters, and 2nd is Acuña who has hit leadoff barely half the PA as Carpenter.

    Again, who is going to hit leadoff if Carpenter goes? No one sticks out as an obvious candidate unless you buy the resurgence of Wong.

    #69995
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    RememberDiz
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    A great number of Carpenter’s walks have been of the intentional variety. When he is hot, it is often wise not to pitch to him, especially with nobody hitting behind him who can hit. How many intentional walks does he have, and are they of benefit to us?

    Just getting on base is not necessarily a good thing. Can you get into scoring position? Carpenter is not especially fast, and we do go from base-to-base a lot. Wong and Bader might both be excellent leadoff candidates since a leadoff walk may be the same as a double with speed. Carpenter is 24. They are young enough to become effective in time. Defense is a plus for both. Teach Bader to lay off of low curveballs, and he might be an ideal layoff.

    Carpenter has hit 241 and 263 the past two years. 241?

    #69998
    Brian Walton
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    Carpenter has 99 walks this season. Just 17 were intentional.

    75 of Carpenter’s 139 hits have gone for extra bases. That is 54 percent.
    31 of Bader’s 93 hits have gone for extra bases. That is 33 percent.
    28 of Wong’s 84 hits have gone for extra bases. That is also 33 percent.

    This data is in conflict with several of the assertions being made above.

    Finally, using batting average as a key element of player value isn’t very enlightening, IMO.

    #70004
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    Like I say, I have been wrong before. But, BA has been a key indicator of value for a hundred forty years.

    I’m not sure why it is necessary to consider the number of doubles of Wong or Bader. They can still get home as easily as Carpenter or more so since they have speed on the basepaths.

    The key is that they are young. Carpenter is 32 and shouldn’t be going through these long-term slumps. Generally, maturity teaches you how to be valuable as you get out of it. Carp kind of stalls everything. Doesn’t advance runners. He either doubles, hits a home run, or does exactly what? Will he be zero for September?

    I expect more from maturity than from kids.

    #70008
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    858booyah
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    MAybe he’s saving himself for the Wild Card.

    It’s a concern but you hope a couple days rest recharges the batteries.

    #70013
    stlcard25
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    Batting average has little to no value if it’s not matched with a good on base percentage. Remember Aledmys Diaz? Good batting average, couldn’t take a walk and he was on his way out the door before long.

    Again, I’m not completely opposed to moving on from Carpenter and ideally he would not be your best hitter, but a nice secondary piece to set the table for a bopper (looking at you, Harper). But it’s silly to suggest that he’s of no value because of something like batting average when he’s been near the top of the on base leaderboards his whole career.

    Oh, and speed or no speed, he’s been rated a positive base runner 5 of the 7 years of his career, including the last two. So it’s not like he’s costing you tons of runs (+5.7 in his career).

    Everyone would love a Mookie Betts who has speed and on base ability, or Lindor, or someone like that. But Carpenter leads the next tier and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

    #70016
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    Cardinals27
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    If a good offer is present, Carpenter should be traded in the offseason. He is 32, and will be coming off maybe a career year. If he is traded to an American League, he could DH (his best position) and would play games in Fenway and Yankee Stadium. I say let’s get younger.

    #70038
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    gscottar
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    Carp is going to finish top 10 in the MVP vote this year. I doubt trading him is going to rank very high on Mo’s offseason to do list. We have bigger problems to address.

    #90972
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    Cardinals27
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    It is strange when you laud someone like Carpenters approach in his pre power hitting days (see Clayton Kershaw) to despising his every at bat for his unwillingness to beat the shift. Baseball is about adapting to change, as for every pitcher that changes his approach, the batter has to make changes also. In my mind, it is one of the coolest things about this great game.

    It is maddening when Carp goes thru these horrendous stretches.

    #91075
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    SoonerinNC
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    The thing I have noticed about Carpenter’s swing is that he hits no line drives to left field. Most every time he hits the ball that way it is in the air and most often foul. Possible because he has adjusted his swing to try to loft the ball to hit more homers. When he goes to left field he seems to drop his back shoulder and everything is in the air.

    I also believe that he has a reputation with the umpires of being a whiner. He complains about a lot of called strikes that appear to clearly be strikes. It also appears that he is wrung up on a lot of balls out of the zone. Umpires don’t like to be questioned.

    It appears that his fielding has improved quite a bit. Just wish he would start slashing more balls to left field. A lot of doubles waiting for him out there. Meanwhile he hits a lot of balls right into the shift.

    Seems to be a good guy but maybe a little hard headed.

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