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Matt Carpenter crushes Cubs in midst of career year

Matt Carpenter

Matt Carpenter is having a career season. He stayed hot on Friday against the Cubs, when he went 5-5 with three home runs and two doubles. His seven RBI day lead the Cards to an 18-5 victory over the Cubbies.

Making History

Despite playing only six innings on Friday, Carp had a historic afternoon, on the 14-year anniversary of Albert Pujols’ three-homer game at Wrigley Field.

He got things started by tying Lou Brock with a franchise record 21 career leadoff home runs. It was his sixth on the season, which is a new single-season franchise record.

Just one inning later, Carpenter took the Cubs starter Jon Lester deep again. This time it was a 2-run shot that put the Redbirds up 5-0. Then, two innings later, he hit two doubles in the Cardinals seven-run fourth inning.

Finally, with two outs in the sixth, Carp hit a three-run shot over Jason Heyward, capping the first three home run day of his career. He became the first player in Cardinals history and just the second player ever to hit three home runs and two doubles in the same game.

On the Season

Matt Carpenter got off to a very slow start in 2018. It was so bad that many fans and media were wondering if he could be traded before the end of April.

In that month of April, Carp hit .155 with an OBP of .305 and a slugging percentage of just .274. He had just four doubles, two homers, 10 RBI and an OPS+ of 64. He also struck out 26 times.

Since then, though, he’s been one of the best hitters in baseball. On May 1, Carpenter went two for four with a double and a home run, raising his average from .155 to .170. After Friday’s rout of the Cubs, he’s slashing .274/.381/.576.

Matt Carpenter vs Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper was an All-Star this season and ended up the hero of the Home Run Derby. He’s set to sign one of the largest contracts in baseball history this offseason. Carpenter wasn’t an All-Star, is going largely unnoticed this season and has a lot of critics within his own fanbase. However, if you look at their numbers, you might confuse the descriptions above.

Matt Carpenter now has 23 home runs in 2018, the same amount as Harper. The only two categories Harper has over Carp are RBI, with 54 to Carp’s 51 and walks with 78 to Carp’s 56.

Carpenter’s .274 average dwarfs Harper’s .214. His OBP of .381 is much better than Harper’s is at .365 and Carp’s SLG of .576 is 108 points higher than Harper’s .468. Matt also has 20 more hits than Bryce, 90 to 70 and 16 more doubles, 30 to 14.

On defense, it’s much the same story. Carpenter has been head and shoulders better than Harper.

As far as defensive runs saved goes, Carpenter has eight at third base, his primary position. Harper has -9 DRS in right field this year, his primary position. Carp also has the edge in UZR and UZR/150.

Although neither are great for Carp, his 0.2 UZR and -0.2 UZR/150 are both better than Harper’s -6.6 and -20 respectively.

Carpenter’s Off is 21.7 to Harper’s 10.6 and his Def is -1.1 to Harper’s -11.6. that’s before Friday’s game where Carpenter went off. Also, even without Friday’s game accounted for, Carp’s wRC+ of 144 and wOBA of .384 both trump Harper’s 119 and .351.

League Leaders

With Friday’s game, Carpenter climbed his way up the National League leaderboards. He now ranks among the top ten in six categories.

His 30 doubles lead the entire Senior Circuit. He’s tied for second in home runs, behind only Jose Aguilar. His .576 slugging percentage is third behind Aguilar and Nolan Arenado. He ranks fourth in OPS with a .958. In runs and walks, he ranks sixth with 62 and 56 respectively.

Among National League third baseman, Carpenter ranks in the top four in runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, walks, on-base, slugging and OPS. He also ranks sixth in average. Offensively, he’s been one of the top three best third basemen in the National League.


Featured Image by ESPN

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