Tha Sports Junkies 101

Matt Carpenter; 1st or 3rd, it Matters

Matt Carpenter Kieth Allison/ Via


Matt Carpenter; 1st or 3rd, it Matters

Since Albert Pujols left for LA, in 2011, Matt Holliday’s injuries last season, and departure this season, the Cardinals have been without a true third place hitter.  But, Matt Carpenter’s 28 home run season, in 2015, led the front office to believe he was their guy.  Unfortunately, he is just not a 3-hole hitter.  No matter how many times he says it does not matter where he hits in the lineup, it obviously makes some difference.

Matt Carpenter, the 3 Hitter

Carpenter has 195 career at bats, in the third spot.  He had 36, in 2016, and has had 159, this season.  In those 195 at bats, he has accumulated nine home runs, 27 RBI, and six doubles. All of his home runs and RBI out of the three hole, have been this season. He has hit a mere .226 and has struck out in 28 percent of his at-bats, when hitting third.  Though he was supposed to hold the three spot all by himself this season, he has recently moved back to the lead-off spot.  This decision came after he hit just .226, through 44 games.

Matt Carpenter, the Leadoff Hitter

The top spot in the order is where Carpenter has excelled, in his career.  He has hit 61 home runs, including 22 of his 28, in 2015, in 1905 at bats, as the lead-off man.  More impressively, he has compiled 149 doubles, and 248 RBI, out of the leadoff spot.  His career average, hitting first, sits at .296, and .350, for 2017.  He also strikes out considerably less, when hitting first.  Carpenter has only struck out in 19 percent, of his 1905 leadoff at-bats.

Since being moved back to the lead-off spot, this season, Carpenter has strengthened his case, for hitting first permanently.  In five games and 20 at bats, in the lead-off spot, this season, he has two home runs, two doubles, five RBI, and has hit .350.  It is unclear, at this point, whether or not Matheny will move Matt back down if he keeps hitting.  However, one thing is definitely clear, Matt Carpenter hits unbelievably better at lead-off than he does in the third spot.