Discussions of most overrated and most underrated players are often cosmetic in nature, as good players tend to gain the most recognition. Relative notoriety is difficult to gauge, though we can evaluate when a player of significant talent gains little mainstream media attention or vice versa. We often feel see that supposed underrated players come from smaller markets, while overrated players are those that inherently gain media attention through large markets. However, one of the most underrated players currently plays in a large baseball market. Ranking second in the National League in runs scored with surprisingly well-above-average defense, St. Louis Cardinals 2B Matt Carpenter gains nowhere near the attention that he deserves.
Batting at or near the top of a deep and talented lineup, Carpenter is often overshadowed by Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina, Allen Craig and others. The Cardinals have had unmatched success developing hitters from within, developing the likes of Carpenter, Craig, Oscar Taveras and Matt Adams. With one of the best pitching staffs in baseball – anchored by homegrown products Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller – the Cardinals are so rich with talent. For this reason, it is easy to see why Carpenter is overlooked and underappreciated. Nonetheless, his performance and talent warrant more notoriety and potentially an All Star selection.
While Brandon Phillips has a strong lead for the starting spot as the National League’s All Star second baseman, Carpenter deserves a look as the reserve option. While Marco Scutaro and Daniel Murphy could conceivably gain consideration, Carpenter has more talent and has had more success than both of those players. Whether at second or third base, Carpenter’s bat and glove look like substantial contributors to the Cardinals organization for many years to come.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.