The St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in all of baseball, which shouldn’t really surprise anyone. However, their best offensive player might surprise a lot of folks.
In January, I felt the need to write about Matt Carpenter, just like I wrote about Allen Craig prior to the 2012 season. I called Craig the X-Factor for the Cardinals in 2012, which was pretty spot-on considering how well he played. But since Craig established himself as a force, it was time to award that X-Factor title to someone else on the Cardinals, which is why I thought Carpenter was the perfect candidate. Judging from the way Carpenter has played thus far in 2013, it’s probably safe to say I am 2-for-2 on predicting breakout players for the Cardinals.
The reason why I was so high on Carpenter was due to the fact he walked at a high rate and controlled his strikeouts throughout his Minor League career. If only every hitter had the mindset of Matt Carpenter, it’s like being selective and drawing walks is a good thing — who would have thought!?
Carpenter leads the Cardinals in fWAR with a 2.1 fWAR and is fifth in all of baseball in runs scored, proving that he is one of the better leadoff hitters in all of baseball. With Carpenter setting the table so beautifully, the Cardinals should be the odds on favorites to win the National League this season. After all, when you would take into account the team’s run differential and amount of team fWAR, they were probably the best team in baseball last season.
Their “unluckiness” from last year seems to be changing this year with Carpenter being a major reason why.