Matt Carpenter: MVP

Hayden See, Reporter

Matt Carpenter began the season batting under .200; He was unable to produce offensively for about the first three months of the season. Things turned around for him after the All Star break.

In his first month he batted only .155 with 26 strikeouts. Things continued down that trend until June. In 99 at-bats in June, he hit .313 with 8 homers. He continued that pace with strong months to follow.

“He looked horrendous early on. It is insane that he was able to turn his season around this drastically,” junior Sophia Giltner said.

Before Carpenter’s hot streak started, the Cardinals were barely hovering above the .500 mark. Now they sit in the second Wild Card spot, meaning that if the season ended today the Redbirds would be in the playoffs.

“This team would already have been eliminated from the postseason if it weren’t for him. No one saw this coming,” junior Blake Haffer said.

Carpenter does have his fair share of competition, though. He is tied for second in the league in Wins Above Replacement with a 5.2 mark. Wins Above Replacement is a metric used to determine how valuable a player is to their team. Matt is fifth in the NL with a .553 slugging percentage, seventh in on base percentage, and third in WRC+,an advanced metric that calculates how valuable a player is to their team offensively. One hundred  is league average, below 100 is below league average, and above 100 is above league average. Carpenter’s 147 WRC+ means he is 47 percent better offensively than the league average. His main competition included outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich of the Brewers, Javier Baez of the Cubs, Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks, and Jacob deGrom on the Mets.

“I don’t watch much baseball, but I think that Carpenter has a shot at MVP. The Cardinals haven’t had an MVP caliber player in quite some time,” junior Emma Hayden said,

Carpenter may not be leading every category offensively, but the way he turned around his season is rare to see. It may even be MVP worthy.