MARP = Matt Carpenter, because nicknames like “Mini Carp” and “Lil’ Carp” simply fail to do Matt justice. Also, the very names themselves tend to diminish the less-established of the two players named Carpenter on the Cardinals. Considering how little attention he has received to this point outside of Cardinal Nation, I doubt many people even recognize that he has put together a solid campaign for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Time for that to change.
Despite playing on a team with the likes of Carlos Beltran, David Freese, Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Rafael Furcal, Lance Berkman, and several other established hitters, Marp seems to be holding his own and then some. He only has 93 at-bats, but he currently ranks 6th on the team in RBI, and the rest of his resume looks just as good.
- Tied for 6th on the team in HR with 3
- Slash line of .290/.352/.527/.879
- Tied for the team lead in triples with 3 (Daniel Descalso also has 3) which is good for 3rd in the NL
- At the moment, he remains the only Cardinals player who is not a regular starter with an oWAR of 0.5 of higher.
- He has spent time at 1B, 3B, and both corner outfield spots
- His 11.04 RF/9 at 1B leads the NL
- He has an OPS+ of 135
Granted, he probably won’t spend enough time at any particular position to be even an average defender, but he has the potential to be truly solid at first base. Unfortunately for him, he happens to be around 3rd on the depth chart at that position, and that assumes that injuries won’t prompt the elevation of Matt Adams from AAA.
Sadly, he likely will not receive enough attention and/or playing time to beat out the likes of Yonder Alonso and Bryce Harper. Harper has made quite an impact with his Q-factor, but he has not really hit his stride quite yet. Despite his 2 HR and 5 RBI, his slash line of .238/.319/.460/.780 fails to impress. The good news for Harper? He will see plenty of playing time, and he should quickly catch Carpenter in terms of at-bats, RBI, and HR. Though Harper has a well-earned reputation as a great athlete and excellent defender, his -0.3 dWAR implies that he has a bit of work to do still. The fact is that Carp has about 7 years on Harper, so a lot of what separates the two can be explained by experience and maturity. That should not take anything away from the simple truth that Carpenter has had a much better season to this point than Harper has.
As for another ROY candidate, Yonder Alonso, the guy has been impressive so far. His slash line of .296/.369/.416/.785 probably does not yet represent the kind of power he can generate, and his -0.4 dWAR offsets a lot of what he does in terms of overall offensive production. Also, one can imagine that playing for the Padres does not help his cause a lot, either. The combination of West Coast start times and run deficiencies due to both the team’s lineup and Petco Park hurt his chance somewhat. Still, his 11 RBI in 125 at-bats pales in comparison to what Marp has done.
TIDBIT: I really like the new celebratory dugout line which I have nicknamed #RedbirdRow on Twitter. What say you, folks?
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