Matt Carpenter Is the X-Factor for the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals

Peter G. Aiken – USA TODAY Sports

The name Carpenter has been around the St. Louis Cardinals for nearly a decade. This Carpenter, however, isn’t the Carpenter that everyone thinks about when they think of the Redbirds. Matt Carpenter broke into the big leagues last season, impressing the Cardinals enough to consider him for the starting second base job for the upcoming 2013 season. This is a decision that I completely understand, figuring that Carpenter has the chance to become one of baseball’s most underrated leadoff hitters.

I don’t know if Mike Matheny plans on using Carpenter as a leadoff hitter, but I’m hoping he will realize the type of weapon he truly has. Carpenter is basically a version of Allen Craig that can walk but lacks power. In his 340 plate appearances which includes games played at multiple positions, Carpenter had a slash line of .294/.365/.463, making him a viable option to bat leadoff. And that slash line isn’t really a fluke, considering he had a .419 OBP with St. Louis’ Triple-A club in 2011.

It’s a really good time to be a Cardinals fan right now: they almost reached the World Series last season, are healthy compared to the start of last season, and have baseball’s best farm system. Their success isn’t dependent on Carpenter – it more so depends on their veterans – but he is the type of player that could push the Cardinals over the edge in order to challenge the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves as the best team in the National League.

If Carpenter can play second base and get on base 35% of the time, the Cardinals will only improve what was the best offense in the NL.

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