Matt Carpenter (baseball)
|St. Louis Cardinals – No. 13|
November 26, 1985 |
|Bats: Left||Throws: Right|
|June 4, 2011 for the St. Louis Cardinals|
(through June 30, 2014)
|Runs batted in||155|
|Career highlights and awards|
Matthew Martin 'Matt' Carpenter (born November 26, 1985) is a professional baseball third baseman and second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Cardinals selected him in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Draft from Texas Christian University (TCU). The team called him up to the majors for the first time on June 3, 2011, and he made his MLB debut the following night at Busch Stadium.
Carpenter has also appeared at first base, right field, and left field. A three-time second-team All Mountain West Conference selectee, he broke TCU's school record for games played and at bats and is second in hits, doubles and walks. He was the Cardinals' organization Player of the Year in 2010. A two-time MLB All-Star Game selection, he became the first Silver Slugger Award winner at second base in Cardinals franchise history after leading the major leagues in hits, runs scored and doubles in 2013. He is signed through 2019 with an option for 2020.
Early life and family
Matt Carpenter was born and raised in the Galveston, Texas, area, to Rick and Tammie Carpenter. The elder Carpenter is a former college ball player turned high school baseball coach. His mother played softball in her youth. The Carpenter family spent seven years in La Marque, Texas where Rick Carpenter taught and coached at La Marque High School before moving to Lawrence E. Elkins High School where Rick coached for fifteen years.
At Elkins High School, Carpenter was a three-year first-team all-district performer and two-time all-state tournament team selection. He helped lead team to the USA Today National Championship in 2002. That year he was named the District Sophomore of the Year. He was honored as a 2004 TPX second-team High School All-American. He holds the Elkins High School record for most career hits. One of his high school teammates was Tampa Bay Rays player James Loney.
Carpenter attended Texas Christian University (TCU) and majored in communications. In his freshman year as an athlete, Carpenter played 50 games and finished with a .289 batting average with 27 runs batted in (RBI), eight doubles (2B) and one home run (HR) with 11 multi-hit games and eight multiple-RBI games. The next season, he finished second on the team with a .349 average, one home run and 36 RBIs in 62 games. He also hit safely in 47 games and reached base in 56.
However, Carpenter's junior season was cut short due to injury and was granted a medical redshirt (RS); he appeared in just eight games, making seven starts. In Carpenter's RS-junior season, he played in all 63 games and was named second-team all-conference at third base. He finished the season with a .283 batting average, team-high 11 HR and 46 RBI and ranked third on the team with 48 runs scored. His fifth-year senior season included a .333 batting average, .472 on-base percentage (OBP) and .662 SLG with 11 HR. During his collegiate career, Carpenter broke school career records for games played (241) and at-bats (843), and finished second in hits (263), doubles (57) and walks (BB, with 150). He was named second-team All Mountain West Conference in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Professional career (2009–present)
Draft and minor leagues (2009–11)
The St. Louis Cardinals selected Carpenter in the 13th round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft. Due to advanced age stemming from his RS season, he had little leverage in negotiations, so he signed for a $1,000 bonus. He spent his first professional season with various A-level teams, including the Batavia Muckdogs, Quad Cities River Bandits, and the Palm Beach Cardinals. Between the three clubs, he batted .283 with hitting two home runs and 22 RBI. Carpenter spent his first 28 games of 2010 with Palm Beach, again hitting .283. He also drew 26 BB, placing his OBP at .441.
This resulted in a call-up to the Springfield Cardinals, where he played another 105 games in 2010. With Springfield, he batted .316 with 76 runs scored, 26 doubles, 12 HR, 53 RBI, and 11 stolen bases. He was chosen as a Topps' Double-A All-Star, Texas Mid-Season All-Star, and Texas Post-Season All-Star for his 2010 season. Carpenter also garnered the TCN/Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year and Cardinals organization Player of the Year awards for 2010.
After his 2010 performance, Carpenter started to garner attention, and was expected to compete for one of the MLB Cardinals final roster openings the next spring training. Despite a good spring training, Carpenter started the 2011 season in the minor leagues. He spent 130 total games with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds of Pacific Coast League (PCL), batting .300 with 12 HR, 70 RBI, 84 BB, a .417 OBP and .483 slugging percentage (SLG). His .417 OBP placed fourth in the PCL. His first four years in the minor league included a .408 OBP.
St. Louis Cardinals (2011-present)
Carpenter made his Major League debut on June 4, 2011. During his brief stint in the Majors that year, he played seven games, collecting one double, a .067 batting average and four walks. The Cardinals qualified for the postseason by clinching the wild card, but left him off the postseason roster. St. Louis became the World Series champions when they defeated the Texas Rangers. In spite of his scant contributions to winning the Series, the Cardinals awarded Carpenter a championship ring.
After the 2011 season, the departures of Albert Pujols and Nick Punto – along with an injury to Allen Craig – opened up an opportunity to make Cardinals opening day roster. During spring training, he worked at first base as well as in the outfield to increase his versatility which would help him make the team. Carpenter served as a backup bench player and spot starter for the Cardinals during the 2012 season, with playing time mostly at first base and right field. He played in 114 games, batting .294 with six home runs and 46 RBI.
Carpenter hit the first career postseason home run of his career on October 17, 2012, during Game 3 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) against the San Francisco Giants. The two-run home run came with two out in the bottom of the third inning off Giants starter Matt Cain. Carpenter was not a starter in the game, but came off the bench to replace an injured Carlos Beltrán in the second inning.
Said Carpenter of his home run: "When guys get hurt, especially a guy like Carlos, sometimes that can be kind of a letdown from an energy standpoint as a team. I wanted to do something that would bring some life back." His parents and wife were on hand to see the career milestone, having driven through the night from Texas to be at Busch Stadium for the game. After a lengthy rain delay, the Cardinals won the game 3–1, to take a two game to one lead in the NLCS. Although the Cardinals led the series 3 games to 1 at that point, they collapsed and lost to the eventual World Series champion Giants after a deciding seventh games.
Uncertain of where the club would find adequate offensive production from second base, the Cardinals advised Carpenter to work out there in the off-season prior to 2013. Considering that he had played mainly third base and had not played second base since the Cardinals drafted him, it was a bold move. Carpenter had his tryout in spring training and made the team as the starting second baseman.
With Rafael Furcal out for the season due to injury, and Jon Jay starting the season slowly, the Cardinals clamored for productivity from their leadoff hitters. Manager Mike Matheny moved Carpenter into the leadoff spot midway through April in spite of him lacking the speed sought after for that post in the lineup. He responded by proving to be an all-around hitter, gaining his first All-Star selection at Citi Field with 25 doubles, 65 runs scored, and two 12-game hitting streaks at the All-Star break.
With his 54th double on September 21, Carpenter broke Stan Musial's six decade-old franchise record for doubles (Musial's 53 came in 1953) by a left-handed batter. He finished the season leading the Major Leagues in hits (199), doubles (55), and runs (126), while batting .318. He also finished in the top ten in the NL in batting average, on-base percentage (.392), total bases (301), singles (126), triples (seven), walks (72), and adjusted OPS (143), among others. Among NL leadoff hitters, he finished second in OBP to Shin-Soo Choo's .423.
Despite his stellar regular season, Carpenter batted only .203 in the postseason. Against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLDS, he started slowly, managing just one hit in 19 at-bats (.053). He improved his batting average to .261 against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS and to .296 in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. However, against Boston closer Koji Uehara, Carpenter struck out for the final out of the series, resulting in the Cardinals' elimination from the final round of the postseason.
The following November, in earning his first Silver Slugger Award, Carpenter also became the first winner at second base in Cardinals history. He finished fourth in the NL Most Valuable Player Award balloting. He was also selected as the team finalist for Heart & Hustle Award; Boston's Dustin Pedroia was the winner. The club then signed Carpenter to a six-year, $52 million extension to run through 2019 on March 6, 2014. Included was an option for 2020 worth $18.5 million. Mozeliak cited his work ethic as another factor in the extension.
With second base prospect Kolten Wong viewed as major league-ready, Carpenter moved back to his customary position of third base in 2014. He continued as the Cardinals leadoff hitter. He started the season slowly, batting .264 in April with three doubles and one home run. His productivity returned in May, when he batted .307 with 10 doubles. However, on May 15, his batting average had dropped to .256 with a .315 SLG. From May 18 to June 1, he hit safely in 14 consecutive games and collected a combined 24 hits in 60 at-bats for a .400 batting average.
In a June 4 matchup against the Kansas City Royals, Carpenter racked five hits in five at-bats to raise his batting average to a season-high .307. His double in the eleventh inning provided the game-winning RBI in a 5–2 victory. It was the first five-hit game for the Cardinals since Ryan Ludwick's on September 4, 2009. Carpenter finished that game having reached base in 10 consecutive plate appearances. The five hits brought him into a tie for the NL lead in hits (73), and to that point, he led NL leadoff hitters in runs (40) and BB (33). After first-half results through July 6 including a .282 batting average, four HR, 32 RBI, and a .375 OBP, he was selected to his second All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- Major leagues
- World Series champion (2011)
- 2x All-Star (2013, 2B; 2014, 3B)
- Silver Slugger Award at second base (2013)
- Minor leagues
- St. Louis Cardinals organization Player of the Year (2010)
- 2x Texas League All-Star (2010 mid-season, 2010 post-season)
- 2x Texas League Player of the Week (July 19–25, August 2–10, 2010)
- Topps' Double-A All-Star (2010)
- 2x The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Top Cardinals Prospect (2012, #11; 2011, #6)
- TCN/Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year: 2010
- TCN/Scout.com Springfield Cardinals Player of the Year: 2010
When he was in high school, Matt Carpenter was given a framed poster of Lance Berkman, his childhood hero and teammate from 2011–12. The poster was a gift from his now-wife, Mackenzie (Detmore) Carpenter. The couple were married on December 10, 2011.
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- Hagen, Pat (July 6, 2014). "All-Stars unveiled, including 26 first-timers". MLB.com. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
- D'Angelo, Tom (July 6, 2014). "Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton an All-Star, but Casey McGehee is snubbed". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
- Pearlman, Jeff (March 22, 2011). "Cardinals' Matt Carpenter moves closer to dream of big leagues". Sports Illustrated.
- "Matt Carpenter and Mackenzie Detmore wedding". Wedding Channel. December 2011.
- "Mackenzie Detmore and Matt Carpenter". Bed Bath and Beyond. December 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Matt Carpenter (baseball).|
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- TCU Horned Frogs bio