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Matt Carpenter

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Matthew Martin Carpenter

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[edit] Biographical Information

Matt Carpenter was a postseason hero in 2012.

[edit] Amateur Career

Carpenter helped his team to a USA Today national high school title in 2002. He hit .289/.391/.366 in 50 games as a part-timer during his freshman year at TCU. In 2006, the sophomore became a starter at third base and hit .349/.432/.411, with only one homer. He fielded .977. As a junior, he was 5 for 27 with 8 walks and a double before his season ended due to injury. He redshirted and returned in 2008 to bat .283/.381/.522 with 11 homers and 48 runs in 63 games; he was named second-team All-Mountain West Conference. As a fifth-year senior, he put up a batting line of .333/.470/.662 with 51 walks and 58 runs in 58 games. He tied for 15th in NCAA Division I in walks. He set a TCU single-season record with 23 doubles and finished second in TCU annals in hits (263) and doubles (57) and 4th in RBI (159).

[edit] 2009-2010: Minors

He was drafted in the 13th round of the 2009 amateur draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. As a pro, he hit .283/.370/.390 in 70 games split between 3 teams (the Batavia Muckdogs, Palm Beach Cardinals and Quad Cities River Bandits) in 2009, then had a very good season in 2010, hitting .309/.418/.471 in 133 games between the Palm Beach Cardinals and Springfield Cardinals and putting him on the map as a prospect. He hit 31 doubles and 15 homers that season, scoring 93 runs while playing third base. He led the Cardinals farm system in hits (153, 9 ahead of another Matt, Matt Adams), runs (7 ahead of Daniel Descalso) and OBP (.003 better than Aaron Luna). He was named the Texas League All-Star DH (Mike Moustakas was picked at 3B) after finishing among the league leaders in average (.316, 4th, between Corey Brown and Paulo Orlando), walks (64, 4th, between Andy Parrino and Luna), OBP (.412, 3rd, after Luna and Brown), runs (76, 5th), fielding at 3B (.973, 1st), assists at 3B (222, 1st), chances at 3B (293, 1st) and games at 3B (104, 1st). He was named the Cardinals' Minor League Player of the Year.

[edit] 2011: Breaking in to The Show

In 2011, he was with the AAA Memphis Redbirds, hitting .300/.417/.463 in 130 games, with 29 doubles, 12 homers and 70 RBI. He went 1 for 15 (a double off Kerry Wood being the lone hit) in his first taste of the big leagues that year and was not on the postseason roster as the Cards went on to win the 2011 World Series. He led the 2011 Pacific Coast League with 84 walks (3 more than Cole Gillespie, 8th-most in the affiliated minors) and was 4th in OBP (between Collin Cowgill and Brandon Allen). In the St. Louis chain, he was 1st in OBP (28 points more than anyone else), doubles (3rd, behind Ryan Jackson and Nick Stavinoha), hits (130, 5th) and RBI (tied for 5th).

[edit] 2012- : Majors

With David Freese emerging as the Cardinals' third baseman of the future thanks to an outstanding postseason in 2011, Carpenter was turned into more of a utility player before the 2012 season. He only played 6 games in the minors, spending the majority of his time with the big league squad, where he appeared in 114 games, hitting .294/.365/.463 with 22 doubles and 6 homers in 296 at-bats. He split his time between 1B, where he subbed ably for an injured Lance Berkman, 3B and the outfield, also playing a few games at second base. He had a hit in his only at-bat in the Wild Card Game against the Atlanta Braves, but was 0 for 4 as the Cards defeated the Washington Nationals in the NLDS. He was the hero of Game 3 of the 2012 NLCS on October 17, 2012. Playing for the St. Louis Cardinals against the San Francisco Giants, he replaced an injured Carlos Beltran in the 2nd inning and in his first at-bat of the game in the 3rd inning, he took Matt Cain deep for a two-run homer as the Cardinals won, 3-1. Carpenter had been 4 for 4 lifetime against Cain prior to the game.

Installed as the Cardinals' starting second baseman and leadoff hitter in 2013, Carpenter had an outstanding season, figuring among the National League leaders for hits and runs scored all year. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time and on September 4th tied a Cardinals team record held by Rogers Hornsby, Frankie Frisch and Sparky Adams with his 46th double of the season. Adams had been the last of the other three middle infielders to accomplish the feat, back in 1931, and there was almost a month of the season left for Matt to annihilate the mark. Indeed, he finished with 55 doubles, leading the NL (11 more than #2 Yadier Molina), as did his 199 hits (8 more than Daniel Murphy) and 126 runs scored (19 ahead of runner-up Shin-Soo Choo). He hit .318/.392/.481 in 157 games, driving in 78 runs from the lead-off spot. He was also 6th in the league in average (between Jayson Werth and Andrew McCutchen), 7th in OBP (between Freddie Freeman and Troy Tulowitzki), 3rd in total bases (301, behind Paul Goldschmidt and Hunter Pence), tied for 9th in walks (72, even with Adam LaRoche), third in extra-base hits (behind Goldschmidt and Jay Bruce), 8th in OPS+ (between Choo and Brandon Belt) and first in double plays turned at 2B (97). He won a Silver Slugger Award. He was shut down by the pitching of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Division Series, however, going 1 for 19 with his only hit a single. He was better in the next two rounds, hitting .261/.333/.435 with 4 runs and 2 RBI in the 2013 NLCS and .296/.286/.333 with 3 runs and 2 RBI in the World Series, which St. Louis dropped to Boston. He was 4th in voting for the 2013 National League Most Valuable Player Award behind McCutchen, Goldschmidt and teammate Yadier Molina.

During spring training of 2014, Carpenter signed a six-year contract extension with the Cardinals, with an option for a seventh, for $52 million. That made him the fourth member of the team signed for the long term, with P Adam Wainwright, OFs Matt Holliday and Allen Craig and C Molina.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • NL All-Star (2013)
  • NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2013)
  • NL Runs Scored Leader (2013)
  • NL Hits Leader (2013)
  • NL Doubles Leader (2013)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (2013)

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