MATT Matthew Martin CARPENTER
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   1B-2B-3B
Home: N/A Team:   YANKEES - IL
Height: 6' 3" Bats:   L
Weight: 205 Throws:   R
DOB: 11/26/1985 Agent: SSG Baseball
Uniform #: 13  
Birth City: Galveston, TX
Draft: Cardinals #13 - 2009 - Out of Texas Christian Univ.
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2009 NYP BATAVIA   9 32 9 15 3 0 0 3 0 1 4 2 .541 .563 .469
2009 MWL QUAD CITIES   29 105 11 31 6 2 0 10 2 0 17 13 .405 .390 .295
2009 FSL PALM BEACH   32 114 13 25 6 1 2 9 1 0 10 24 .286 .342 .219
2010 TL SPRINGFIELD   105 396 76 125 26 3 12 53 11 2 64 88 .412 .487 .316
2010 FSL PALM BEACH   28 100 17 28 5 2 1 17 0 1 26 14 .438 .400 .280
2011 PCL MEMPHIS   130 434 61 131 29 3 12 70 5 4 84 68 .419 .465 .302
2011 NL CARDINALS   7 15 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 .263 .133 .067
2012 TL SPRINGFIELD   3 10 3 3 0 0 1 3 0 1 3 1 .462 .600 .300
2012 PCL MEMPHIS   3 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 .333 .143 .143
2012 NL CARDINALS $480.00 114 296 44 87 22 5 6 46 1 1 34 63 .365 .463 .294
2013 NL CARDINALS $504.00 157 626 126 199 55 7 11 78 3 3 72 98 .392 .481 .318
2014 NL CARDINALS $1,250.00 158 595 99 162 33 2 8 59 5 3 95 111 .375 .375 .272
2015 NL CARDINALS $3,750.00 154 574 101 156 44 3 28 84 4 3 81 151 .365 .505 .272
2016 TL SPRINGFIELD   4 12 2 4 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 4 .385 .667 .333
2016 NL CARDINALS $6,500.00 129 473 81 128 36 6 21 68 0 4 81 108 .380 .505 .271
2017 NL CARDINALS $10,000.00 145 497 91 120 31 2 23 69 2 1 109 125 .384 .451 .241
2018 NL CARDINALS $13,750.00 156 564 111 145 42 0 36 81 4 1 102 158 .374 .523 .257
2019 TL SPRINGFIELD   5 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 .211 .000 .000
2019 PCL MEMPHIS   4 11 2 2 1 0 0 3 0 0 3 4 .357 .273 .182
2019 NL CARDINALS $15,333.00 129 416 59 94 20 2 15 46 6 1 63 129 .334 .392 .226
2020 NL CARDINALS $6,852.00 50 140 22 26 6 0 4 24 0 0 23 48 .325 .314 .186
2021 NL CARDINALS   130 207 18 35 11 1 3 21 2 0 35 77 .305 .275 .169
Personal
  • When he was in high school, Matt was given a signed jersey of Lance Berkman, his childhood hero and teammate from 2011-2012. The poster was a gift from his now-wife, Mackenzie (Detmore) Carpenter. The couple were married on December 10, 2011.

    COACH DAD

  • Before Matt was born, Carpenter's father, Rick Carpenter, a college baseball player, and his wife, Tammie, once a softball player, settled in Texas so that Rick could pursue a coaching career. Matt recalls some of his earliest memories coming at the La Marque High School baseball field, where his father spent seven years.

    "We would sit in lawn chairs by the dugout, where my Mom would always be," Matt said. "I remember just playing around as a kid. We never missed a game."

    Rick Carpenter later moved to Lawrence E. Elkins High School, where he built a powerhouse baseball program in a state where that is no small task. He doubled as a Little League assistant coach for every team Matt played on, too. Rick Carpenter now jokes that had more to do with his son—he was always peppered with coaching requests by head coaches who wanted to ensure that Matt would be on their team—than himself.

    While fostering his son's love for the sport, Rick Carpenter never forced it. He was also realistic, never assuming that, while Matt was always an elite player in Little League and high school, his oldest son would find his way to the Majors.

    "I grew up with guys whose dads were so pushy," Matt said. "For me, the love of the game was always there. I always wanted to go to the baseball field. I know for a fact that there was never a time when he said, 'Hey, let's go hit.' It never happened. It was always me."

    Rick Carpenter has had four Major Leaguers pass through that program, too. Along with Matt, James Loney, Kip Wells, and Chad Huffman all played for Rick at Elkins High School in Texas.

    In 2002, Matt and Loney were a part of the high school team that won the national championship. Matt's Dad was the coach and also won the national coach of the year award.

  • While Matt said he firmly believes he wouldn't be in the Major Leagues had it not been for the coaching he received from his father, he interjects that, perhaps surprisingly, the greatest lesson his father imparted on him didn't come on the baseball field.

    Rather, it came in 2007, when Matt was starring on the baseball team at Texas Christian University. That spring, Tammie Carpenter, then a principal at Colony Bend Elementary School, became embroiled in a school district controversy over one of the school's teachers appearing on a reality TV show.

    Believing that his wife had been improperly treated, wrongly disciplined, and publicly slandered by the school district, Rick Carpenter resigned from Elkins High.

    "This program that he had built up at Elkins was kind of a dream job. It was his baby," Matt said. "To watch him up and leave for my Mom, that really opened my eyes. You can do a lot of things in this game, but family has to come first."

    Rick immediately landed a new head coaching job at Dallas-area Prosper High School. In 2014, Matt's father won the National High School Coach of the Year award.

  • Carpenter was off to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth where, as a sophomore he hit .349 and helped lead the Horned Frogs to a Mountain West title. But his grades were poor, and his conditioning was awful. In his firs two years at TCU, he'd put 40 pounds on his 6' 3" frame, ballooning to 240. Then, early in his junior year, he hurt his right elbow, ending his season for Tommy John surgery. Soon after, TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle pulled Matt into his office for a heart-to-heart.

    "I said, 'Listen, now there's no baseball,'" Schlossnagle said. "You can cry about it, or you can see it as this awesome opportunity to address changes in the rest of your life."

    Matt took to baseball while still in diapers. His father, Rick, a high school baseball coach in Texas, remembers seeing his son, at 18 months, pick up a dowel rod in the living room, put it on his shoulder and take a batting stance.

    "He's been a student of the game ever since," says Rick. "My assistant nicknamed him 'One More,' because when they threw him batting practice, he was always like, 'Gimme one more.'"

    Matt figured he'd play three years for TCU, win some games and then get drafted. But that plan looked ruined when after his injury.

    "I was the furthest thing away from a major league prospect," he says. At that point, Schlossnagle's straight talk resonated with Carpenter.

    "I left his office that day and changed everything," Matt says. A junk food afficionado, Carp swore off soda, burgers and pizza to shed the 40 pounds. And he became a model student, too.

    "He was a different human being in every possible area," Schlossnagle says. The same fanatical disclipline Carpenter had once shown in baseball now carried over to his personal life.

    "I haven't seen Matt eat a dessert since this all happened," Rick says. Matt's daughter, Kinley, turned two in May 2018. At her party, he let her put a piece of cake in his mouth, only to spit it out when she wasn't looking." (Jon Tayler - Sports Illustrated - 9/24/2018)

  • Matt has a brother, Ty, who used to be in the Mets' organization.

  • June 2009: The Cardinals chose Carpenter in the 13th round. His signing bonus, as a senior sign, was $1,000. "After taxes, it was like $620," Matt says.
  • In 2010, Matt was the Cardinal's Minor League Player of the Year when he led their minor leaguers with a .418 on-base-percentage. And he followed that up with a .417 OBP in 2011.

  • In 2011, Baseball America rated Carpenter as the 11th-best prospect in the Cardinals organization. He was at #12 in the offseason before 2012 spring camps opened.

  • Carpenter loves the game, loves his team, and is a real grinder. He is relentless in his work ethic. Carpenter gets up real early to work out. But he also needs to know when to slow it down and back off and rest.

  • That he finally has arrived has more than made up for some disappointment along the way. He blew out his elbow during his junior season at TCU and was not drafted. He returned for his senior season, and St. Louis got him in the 13th round of the 2009 draft. He's one in a long list of smart draft choices made when Jeff Luhnow, now the general manager of the Astros, ran the draft for the Cardinals. Specifically, he was the 26th of the 48 Luhnow picks that have played in the big leagues.

    "It wasn't until his senior season at TCU, his fifth year, that he put together a pretty good season," Luhnow said. "It was a combination of the area scout who liked him and the analytics that loved him. When those two things intersect, typically an organization like the Cardinals are there to take advantage of it." (Justice - mlb.com 6/25/13)

  • May 18, 2014: Carpenter had some special guests in attendance. The Turnpike Troubadours. "I've been getting to know them pretty well over the last few years," said Carpenter of the band which performs his walk-up song "Long Hot Summer Day."

    "I became a fan of just their music and I chose the walk-up song. We kind of conversed over Twitter one time back in 2011-12 and they come through Fort Worth all the time at place called Billy-Bob's."

    So does the old adage still hold true—rock stars want to be athletes and athletes want to be rock stars?

    "I sang on stage with them this offseason," shared Carpenter. "We had a TCU football game and they were playing afterwards. Me and just a group of my friends from back home were hanging out with them backstage and listening to the concert."

    The next thing he knew Carpenter was being introduced to join them on stage.

    "They were like 'Hey, we've got a special guest.' I had no idea and was like 'wonder who it is,'" recalled Matt, who went wide-eyed when he heard his name called out. 

  • In 2014, for the second straight season, Matt has been named the Cardinals' winner of the Heart and Hustle Award, presented annually by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to honor players "who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit, and tradition of the game." (7/22/14)

  • The odds were against Carpenter. He was a 13th-round draft pick in 2009. He was pudgy. He was a fifth-year senior at TCU. His signing bonus was just $1,000. Or, as his mentor puts it, "He wasn't even a prospect."

    When Carpenter was in college, he developed a friendship with Twins veteran Torii Hunter, which blossomed after Carpenter was drafted. Carpenter's father, Rick, was integral in connecting the two, as he coached two of Hunter's sons when they were in high school.

    "[My dad] was the one who told [Hunter], 'Hey, I got a son, too, that plays baseball,'" said Carpenter. "Torii reached out to me and invited me to over to hit at his house and spend some time with him."

    For Hunter, it was somewhat of a given. Baseball had been good for him, and he wanted to give back by mentoring a young player, as he had done before and continues to do.

    "I've been [mentoring] hundreds of players you guys don't know about. And that's what I do," Hunter said. "I've learned a lot. So I try to give back to these young guys, and some apply it to their careers and some are kind of like, 'forget it.' And you can tell the guys that are hungry, and Matt is definitely my No. 1 guy."

    As the relationship developed, the two began training together, with Torii picking up the tab for Carpenter to train at an expensive performance center. They ran the bases, fielded ground balls and did sprints.

    "I was just lifting on my own at my dad's high school," Carpenter said. "Hunter took me to a place where a lot of big leaguers were training, a very high-end place with real specific work and ... really helped my career a lot."

    Hunter was always there to answer any questions Carpenter had, on topics ranging from what to expect at his first Spring Training to finances to agents.

    "Now he's doing the same things he saw you do, and that's what it's all about," Hunter said. "Each one, teach one." (Betsy Helfand - associate reporter for MLB.com - 6/19/2015)

  • Asked to pick his favorite books, Matt struggled, but only because he could name a library full.

    "I'm one of those readers where it's like every book I read I end up loving," Carpenter says. "I usually have three books in my backpack at all times: my Bible, a devotional book, and whatever current book I'm reading.

    "When I got to junior high and high school, I didn't read as much as on my own because you're just trying to keep up with the books assigned in class. But in college I started reading for enjoyment again, and it has stayed with me.

    "Call me old-fashioned, but I like having the book in my hands. I'll read books on my tablet occasionally, but it's mostly because of convenience. Reading is mostly a morning and night thing for me.

    "I truly believe it helps me in baseball the more I read. When I'm reading and constantly engaged, I notice I have sharper focus and clarity when I come to the field than when I'm not reading as much. I think what it does is provide a healthy distraction," Carpenter said.

    "I recommend Mind Gym: An Athlete's Guide to Inner Excellence, which is written from a sports psychology standpoint, about playing the mental game of baseball."

  • Carpenter's number reveals that he's not superstitious. Nope. He's number 13. "I'm just not that kind of guy," Matt said. "Now granted, I'm a guy who if I find a routine that's working, I'll do it.

    "If I order a chocolate protein shake with bananas on the way to the park, and the game goes well for me and the team, I'll have another the next day and ride that out until it doesn't work. I always step into the batter's box the same way, with my left foot first, to dig in.

    "In the past I've gone clean-shaven during a rough spell to see if it would change my luck. Now I've embraced the beard, and I think that's going to be my look from here on out," the superstition-less Carpenter said. (July 2015)

  • Carpenter and his wife, MacKenzie spend off-seasons in Fort Worth. "It's such a cool town and there's tons of stuff to do around a college campus," Matt said. "We essentially live on the TCU campus, probably 100 yards from the baseball diamond and across the street from the soccer field.

    "We bought the house in 2013, right in the middle of the Cardinals' season. When I was attending the university (2005-2009), I dreamed of owning a house there one day."

  • May 25, 2016: Carpenter's wife, Mackenzie gave birth to a healthy baby girl. So Matt went on the paternity list for a few days.

  • 2017: Carpenter was selected to play for the USA in the World Baseball Classic.

    March 4, 2017:  Still bothered by stiffness in his back, Carpenter informed Joe Torre, general manager of Team USA, that he needed to remove himself from the country's World Baseball Classic roster.

  • Matt's dad was a huge Pete Rose fan, and he inspired his son to play with the hustle as the Hit King. And it turns out that Rose is now a fan of Matt Carpenter.

    "There's a lot of good players out there," Rose allows, "but you usually like one who plays a little like you did. It's safe to say Carpenter's my favorite player,

    "I admire, first of all, the way he plays," Pete said. "Second, he'll change positions to help the team—which is the way I played. Third, with two strikes, I'd rather have him up there than anybody. He knows how to put the ball in play."

    When Rose discusses their similar approaches, he refers more to Carpenter's eagerness to put the team first and the 100 percent he gives every game.

    "He's a gutty, hard-knocking, hustling, don't-give-a-crap baseball player," Rose says. "That's the kind of guy you want on your team. Cardinals fans ought to be happy to have a guy like that."

    It's also the kind of guy you want in your clubhouse. Carpenter already is recognized as a leader by the example he sets—a grinder who shows up early and works as hard as his craft as anyone on the team, though often quietly. (Stan McNeal - Cardinals Magazine - April, 2017) 

  • Matt's numbers were amazing during a 30-day period in July-August 2018 (.313 avg. - 16 HRs- 27 RBIs - 1.238 OPS).  Many claim it is his recent large consumption of salsa (one mason jar each day). Matt makes his own version of which he keeps what he calls his "secret ingredients" private. It has become a daily ritual for many of his teammates to eat the salsa too. (Jim Hayes-Fox Sports)

  • Carp uses a Marucci bat—a 33.5 inch, 31.5 ounce David Wright model, but branded in Carpenter's name. It is the only model he has ever used.

    "There is one thing about me. I'm pretty consistent," Carpenter said. "I'm pretty stubborn. I have swung the same bat. I've never taken a professional at-bat with a different bat. I've worn the same glove. I don't change stuff. I think that is part of why I've been able to be consistent. But it's also my nature.

    "My dad wakes up and does the same thing he's done for 55 years. My grandpa was the same way. I'll be the same way. We are just very meticulous, routine-based. We don't change."

  • Jan 29, 2019: Shortly before word leaked out to the public about the agreement the Cardinals had reached to acquire Paul Goldschmidt from Arizona, the news traveled to Texas. Matt received it with a giddiness still evident six weeks later. But it also came with a corresponding request: Was he prepared to move across the diamond?

    "I'm ready to go," Carpenter answered. "Let's do this. I mean, we got Paul Goldschmidt! I'll play wherever to accommodate that."

    In what's become seemingly an annual shuffle, Carpenter's defensive position will change yet again. Drafted as a third baseman, he broke into the Majors as a utility man, earned his first All-Star invitation as a second baseman and finished 2018 as an everyday first baseman. Carpenter now heads back to third—the position at which he has the most career appearances (528), but also, arguably, the largest number of lingering questions. Carpenter accepts the skepticism, as well as the chance to eradicate it.

    "I kind of have a chip on my shoulder for that position," Carpenter said. "I feel like I have something to prove over there. I want to show not only our team, but the rest of baseball, that I can do a good job over there. I'm looking forward to that." (J Langosch - MLB.com - Jan 29, 2019)

  • May 19, 2019: Carpenter has lent his clout to support efforts to discourage young people from using appearance-enhancing and performance-enhancing drugs. He’s done so as a member of the Advisory Board of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, a nonprofit organization named for a young player who died at 17 following his use of anabolic steroids.

    Carpenter, a three-time All-Star for St. Louis, said he wanted to participate for many reasons.

    “One, the health, the impact that it can have on your body when you treat it that way,” Carpenter said. “Also, for just the integrity of the game and keeping it the way it’s meant to be played under fair circumstances, league-wide. Those are the most important reasons, but I’m committed to it because I’ve always been a guy who takes a lot of pride in the way he takes care of himself. It’s not easy to eat and train and do the things you need to compete at a high level, and anytime someone’s taking a shortcut, it’s obviously not a good thing.”

    The Taylor Hooton Foundation now has 42 players, spanning all 30 MLB teams, on its Advisory Board. The players are participating in the foundation’s “All Me” campaign, a print public-service announcement that will be featured in team programs and other media. The foundation has spoken to and educated nearly two million people in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. (D Sessions - MLB.com - May 19, 2019)

  • For Matt, Father’s Day is about reflecting on all the things his dad, Rick Carpenter, taught him. Rick recently retired after 40 years of coaching—37 years at the high school level.

    Two of those years produced Matt’s favorite memories with his dad: When Matt was a junior and senior at Elkins High School, he won back-to-back state championships, and Rick was at the helm of those two teams.

    “It was quite a thrill to be able to do that with him,” Carpenter said. “I give him a lot of credit for my knowledge of the strike zone. Knowing what’s a ball and what’s a strike. He really helped me a lot as a young kid learning that. Although he lets me do my own thing now.”

    With more time on his hands now, Rick will be able to follow Matt and the Cardinals around, as well as spend more time with his grandchildren, including Matt’s two children.

    “There’s no way I would have been able to make it here without him and get to this point in my career without him,” Matt said. “He’s been a big influencer and motivator for me along the way.”  (Rogers - mlb.com - 6/16/19)

  • 2020 Season: 

    Season stats: 50 games, 169 PA, 22 R, 26 H, 6 2B, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 23 BB, 48 K, .186/.325/.314, 77 OPS+, -0.1 bWAR

    Postseason stats: 3 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K, .222/.429/.333

    Statcast: .323 xwOBA, 9.8% barrel %, 88.2 exit velocity, 35.9% hard hit %

    Best Statcast category: Barrel % (63rd percentile)

    Worst Statcast category: xBA (12th percentile)

    Hero/Goat: Hero 5, Goat 2

    On COVID IL: No

    Statcast was no friend to him like it was when he struggled in 2018. Except for a surprising increase in barreling the ball, something that went up from 7.2% last year, nothing that he did was in the top half of the league. His launch angle has steadily decreased over the past four years–though obviously that’s not everything. He had almost the same angle in 2015 that he did last year; and in 2015 he was an MVP candidate.

    The biggest differentiator in the lines between those two years seems to be the fact that in 2015 he struck out at a 22.7% clip (which was actually higher than the next couple of years) and in 2020 it was up to 28.4% of the time, which is easily the highest he’s had. Too often, it feels like Carpenter doesn’t think he can do anything but walk and so he keeps wanting to do that, running deep counts that either end in his favor or, more likely, don’t.

    He hit a little better at home (.763 OPS) than away (.535 OPS) and had his best power month in September, when he hit three of his four homers. He was better in high leverage situations than any other kind of situation. He actually did better against power pitchers than finesse pitchers, perhaps because the speed of the ball coming in helped get it to go out in something more than a weak grounder. Two of his home runs came against the Cubs, so you have to appreciate that. There is still some good parts to Carpenter’s game and maybe they’d have shown stronger if there were more games, but overall you lump this with what he’s done since August 14, 2018 and you get a .211 average over 700+ at bats, with 22 homers granted but also 113 walks and 131 strikeouts.

    Outlook: There’s no doubt that the DeWitts' desire to make Carpenter a legacy Cardinal made for a bad contract situation. The Cardinals had an option for 2020 and they could have exercised that instead of guaranteeing 2020 and 2021 and giving him a vesting option for 2022. Given the state of their finances, they are probably regretting that, as Carpenter will make $18.5 million in 2021 with no significant reason to believe his statistical output will be much greater. They overreacted to his hot middle stretch of 2018 and now they are going to pay for it.  (Cardinal70 - Nov. 9, 2020)

  • The 2010-2019 decade: Carpenter's 26.7 WAR tops all Cardinals for the decade. 

  • Asked about the accomplishment of Matt's reaching 10 years of service time, which he did during September 7, 2021’s tilt against the Dodgers, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt rattled off a list of odds to put it in perspective.  Few young kids who pick up a baseball play in high school, fewer play in college, even fewer make it to the Minor Leagues and a miniscule portion spend a day in the Majors, let alone 10 years.

    But Carpenter did all of that as a 13th-round Draft pick, as a fifth-year senior from TCU, and as a bona fide third baseman who had to switch around positions as he rose through the Cardinals’ ranks. 

    “I can tell you those odds that I just mentioned were much steeper for him than a guy with more of an investment from the organization that gets more opportunities,” Shildt said.  “When you're a high-round guy, you get every opportunity to fail.  When you're a late-round guy, a fifth-year senior, you have zero margin for failure.  He basically willed his way with his talent, his dedication to his craft, to come up here and be a really good player for this organization for the last 10 years and help us win a lot of baseball games.”

    Carpenter reached his 10-year milestone all with one organization, becoming one of 17 active players to do so.  He joins Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina as the Cardinals’ three players to have done the same; only the Giants boast as many players with 10 years of service time with one organization. 

    “Pretty crazy, pretty surreal to think about,” Carpenter said. “Pretty special day and just hard to even put into words, really.”

    Throughout his career, Matt has demonstrated an attitude to admire and a legacy to celebrate.  “To even make it here and now, to be here 10 years later, it's hard to fathom, to be honest,” Carpenter said.  (Silver - mlb.com - 9/7/2021)

  • 2021 Season: Carpenter caught 130 games of action with the Cardinals in 2021 at a variety of positions. The 36-year-old hit to a career-low OPS of .581 this past year, as he still hopes to play in the major leagues in 2022.

  • “I’m extremely motivated to keep playing, and not just keep playing,” Carpenter said. “I don’t want to just fill a roster spot. I really feel like I’ve got more left in the tank to be a productive major-league player.”

    To fulfill that belief, he has spent the offseason traveling around the country, trying to fix his swing. Carpenter visited a cutting-edge baseball performance lab in Baton Rouge, LA., private hitting instructors in Santa Clarita, Calif., and a trusted former teammate in Stillwater, OK. But the process began with the call with Joey Votto, his rival for more than a decade.

    “One thing I love about Joey more than anything is that he’s so blatantly honest,” Carpenter said. “If he would have told me, ‘I think you’ve peaked. I think this is it,’ honestly, I probably would have retired. But he said, ‘I think you do have a lot left. I think you’ve kind of lost your way a little bit.’”

    “I went to the lab to get to the analytical-type view,” he said. “Then I went to a baseball guy and said, ‘Help me fix this.’”

     The “baseball guy” was former major-league catcher Tim Laker, who was between jobs as the Mariners’ hitting coach and Dodgers’ minor-league hitting coordinator.

    “I’m more confident about where I’m at and where my swing is than I have been in years, maybe ever,” Carpenter said.

     Of course, it’s one thing for a player to talk excitedly about offseason changes, and another thing for him to apply them against Major League competition, in actual games. Carpenter believes his new, more efficient swing will help alleviate two of his biggest problems: his strikeout rate and his performance against the shift. (Rosenthal-TheAthletic.com-Feb 23, 2022)

    TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2009: Carpenter was a fifth-year senior at Texas Christian when the Cardinals chose him in the 13th round. Scout Aaron Krawiec signed him for $1,000. 

  • March 8, 2014: Carpenter agreed to a $52 million, six-year deal with the Cardinals. The deal includes a team option for a seventh year in 2020 at $18.5 million. 

  • April 10, 2019: The Cardinals announced a two-year contract extension for Carpenter that includes a vesting option for 2022. The deal replaces a 2020 option Carpenter had as part of his previous contract.

  • Nov 3, 2021: Matt chose free agency.

  • March 20, 2022: The Rangers signed Carpenter to a minor league contract. But he did not make the team out of spring training and was assigned to Triple-A Round Rock.

  • May 19, 2022: The Rangers released Carpenter.

  • May 26, 2022: The Yankees signed Carpenter to a Major League contract and added him to the active roster.
Batting
  • Carpenter has a smooth lefthanded swing that helps him put up a good batting average. But there are questions about whether he will hit enough home runs for a third baseman. He hits for a nice batting average because of his quick, elegant lefthanded stroke.

  • Matt has good feel for the strike zone, so he gets on base a lot. In 2015, he belted 15 home runs with two strikes, tops in the NL. He also tied for second with 77 two-strike hits.

  • Carpenter stopped swinging from a standstill and added a weight shift. He also increased his strength in order to increase his power numbers.

    When stepping to the plate, he looks like he's settling in for BP. He digs in with his back foot. Standing almost straight up with his bat resting easily on his left shoulder, he rocks back and forth  before turning his full attention to the mound.

    "He looks like he's reading the newspaper up there," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "You can tell guys who know they can hit, and he has that demeanor. He's not in a panic about anything."

    Cubs manager Joe Maddon watched from the opposing dugout, calling Carpenter "a hitter who never looks to be in trouble, kind of like a Joey Votto. He has a very calm method of playing the game. He sees things really well because he slows them down so well."

  • Calling his 2014 postseason "an awakening," Carpenter hopes to take pieces of who he has been each of two seasons and mold himself a little differently in his third full season as a starting infielder. The ambition is lofty given that it's coming from a player on the heels of consecutive All-Star seasons.  

    "I've had both extremes of it," Carpenter explained. "I've had it where I've led the leagues in walks [2014], and I've had where I've led the league in hits [2013]. I'm trying to search for that perfect balance where you're aggressive, but you're still patient.  

    "In the postseason, I felt that I was more aggressive than I had been at any point in my career, but at the same time, I wasn't flailing at balls. I didn't lose anything. Now, it's finding the perfect balance to where I'm swinging the bat, I'm being aggressive, I'm trying to do damage, but at the same time, I'm a guy who can walk a lot, get on base and set the tone as a leadoff hitter. I think that's part of growing up as a baseball player. You learn and you adapt and you continue to try to figure out who you are as a hitter." (Langosch - mlb.com - 3/3/15)

  • Adam Wainwright thought Matt was getting a little carried away in the spring of 2015 when Carpenter started proclaiming his ability to produce a 20-homer season. So Wainwright offered him a bet: Hit 20, Wainwright told Carpenter, and he would buy him a golf cart.

    On the second pitch Carpenter saw in the team's 130th game, Carpenter secured himself his first 20-homer campaign and a new mode of transportation to use around his Texas home. His solo shot left Wainwright, who was watching from the AT&T Park visitor's dugout, to research where he'd buy a purple golf cart for the Texas Christian University graduate. (Langosch - mlb.com - 8/30/15)

  • Matt goes to the plate without batting gloves. He admits that "it takes a unique person to not wear them because nobody does."

    Almost nobody. Wil Myers and Justin Bour are among the few in the NL known to bat barehanded. And Hunter Pence splits the difference by wearing a glove on only one hand.

    "The handles on my bat are usually unfinished. That gives it a coarseness that makes the bat easier to grip. A little pine tar and rosin help, too. I also rub a lot of dirt on my hands," Carpenter said.

  • 2015 Season: Carpenter really muscled up. This leadoff man hit 28 homers, more than his first three Major League seasons combined. The 29-year-old Carpenter also led the National League with 44 doubles.

    Matt saw a career-high average of 4.22 pitchers per plate appearance. But he was standing in the box ready to hit, too. He swung at the first pitch twice as often as he did in 2014, when he took the first delivery in 92 percent of his plate appearances—most in the NL. And since the start of the 2013 season, Carpenter has been to the plate 8,855 pitches, 877 more than any other player in the NL, and second only to Mike Trout in the Majors (as of the start of the 2016 season).

  • June 27, 2018: Carpenter constructed one of the most unique offensive performances in franchise history. Bookending his night with solo home runs, Carpenter sparked the Cardinals to an 11-2 rout of the Indians while becoming just the 19th player in Major League history to tally five hits, five runs and two homers in a game.

  • July 15, 2018: Matt tied a franchise record for leadoff home runs in a season when he launched his fifth off Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani in a 6-4 win at Busch Stadium.  Carpenter's five leadoff homers matched his own mark from 2015, as well as Lou Brock in 1967 and 1970, and Ray Lankford in 1994.

  • July 20, 2018: An afternoon that opened with Matt Carpenter tying Lou Brock in the record books ended with the Cardinals first baseman rewriting them. Carpenter became the first player in franchise history—and just the second in Major League history—to hit three home runs and two doubles in a game. Carpenter did it all in the first six innings of a game against the Cubs, too, along with scoring four runs and driving in a career-high seven. The Cardinals won, 18-5. Until this game, no player had ever tallied five extra-base hits before the seventh inning.

    "A day to remember, for sure," Carpenter said afterward. "I'm having a hard time coming up with words to describe a day like this."

    Perhaps historical context will help. n the 14-year anniversary of Albert Pujols' first three-homer performance at Wrigley Field, Carpenter became the first Cardinals leadoff hitter to go deep three times in a game. He's the 11th player in the past 110 years to tally five extra-base hits and the first to do so from the leadoff spot.

    Carpenter's 16 total bases are also a record for a leadoff batter, breaking the mark of 15 set by the Dodgers' Davey Lopes at Wrigley Field on Aug. 20, 1974. The feat ties the Cardinals record set by Mark Whiten in his memorable four-homer game on Sept. 7, 1993. Carpenter now has two games this season of at least 12 total bases, the first time that's been accomplished by a Cards player since Pujols in 2006.

    Carpenter became the first Cardinals leadoff hitter since Augie Bergamo in 1945 to drive in seven runs, and he tied Brock's franchise record with his 21st career leadoff homer. It was his sixth this season, establishing a single-season franchise record.

    Carpenter joins Chicago's Kris Bryant as the only players in baseball history with a three-homer, two-double game.

    "It's so impressive, and you take in the fact with how he started the year," said Bryant, who started at third base for the Cubs. "I think it was 150 at-bats, and he was at a .150 batting average." (J Langosch - MLB.com - July 20, 2018)

  • July 21, 2018:  Matt elbowed his way further into the record books with home runs in both ends of a doubleheader the Cardinals split with the Cubs at Wrigley Field. That extended Carpenter's home run streak to six consecutive games, tying a franchise record Mark McGwire once set. Carpenter, however, is the only Cardinal to achieve the feat in a single season. 

    With his first-inning single on July 22, 2018, Carpenter snapped a string of 12 hits going for extra bases. In total, he reached based 13 times in the series.  

    "That was unbelievable. The other day he hit the home run [as a pinch-hitter], and I'm out in the outfield just laughing. There's nothing you can do [to stop him]. You just tip your hat. That was an unbelievable display of Babe Ruth. It's a good thing we're not playing more games against him."  —The Cubs Kyle Schwarber, after watching Carpenter go 9-for-17 with 6 homers, 8 runs, and 10 RBI in the series.

  • July 31, 2018: Carpenter hit his 22nd career leadoff home run against the Rockies in a 6-3 loss at Busch Stadium, surpassing former Cardinals great Lou Brock for most leadoff homers in franchise history. It was Carpenter's seventh leadoff homer of the season, another franchise record.

  • May 2020: Carpenter has been consistent with his plate discipline over his career, and it has been a benefit for him as he has changed the way he hits. Whether it’s high-contact Carpenter or power-hitting Carpenter, his selectivity lets him focus on the pitches he wants to see in the zone where he wants to swing.

    Even in his down year at the plate last season, Carpenter’s eye was still one of the best on the Cardinals. His 12.8 walk percentage was just slightly lower than Dexter Fowler’s 12.9, which led the team. And Carpenter’s 22.8 percent O-Swing percentage (percentage of swings at pitches outside the zone) was the lowest among Cardinals regulars.  –Anne Rogers

  • Jan. 2021: Carp in batting gloves? "Don't be surprised."

    Matt Carpenter has rarely worn batting gloves. He didn’t wear them as a kid, didn’t wear them in high school and has said before that he only remembers a few times he wore them at Texas Christian University when the weather got bad. Since he debuted with the Cardinals in 2011, he’s been a strict no-batting-gloves player.

    Could that change in 2021?

    “Well, I’ve taken a totally different approach to the batting gloves deal,” Carpenter told Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin. “I’m not saying I’m gonna wear them all the time, but I do have them. And historically, I’ve been kind of a slow starter in the cold weather. Don’t be surprised if you see me taking at-bats this year in some batting gloves. That’s the first time I’ve said that publicly, too.” 

  • 2022 Improvements:  In 2021, his last in St. Louis, Matt hit three home runs in 249 plate appearances. And in 2020, Carpenter went deep four times in 50 games.

    The player who hit a career-high 36 homers in 2018 seemed to be gone, and it led the Cardinals to decline Carpenter’s $18.5 million option for this season, making him a free agent.

    Now, less than two weeks after signing with the Yankees, Carpenter seemingly has regained the power stroke that helped him become a three-time All-Star with the Cardinals.

    In his first eight games with the Yankees, Carpenter hit four home runs and walked four times, looking nothing like the lost hitter he’d been the last few years in St. Louis.

    “The easiest way to describe it is that for two years, I just pushed the ball,’’ Carpenter said. “There was no snap to it, no drive. The front office people [in St. Louis] just thought I was losing ability, but I knew it wasn’t that.”

    Though not heavily into analytics, Carpenter said all his strength numbers were good.

    “I knew something was going on with my swing,” Carpenter said. “It wasn’t a physical thing. It was mechanical.”

    Carpenter said he doesn’t blame Cardinals hitting coach Jeff Albert, saying they worked closely together to try to get Carpenter back on track, but he needed “new eyes on me.”

    “I didn’t really have a choice,’’ Carpenter said of his offseason overhaul. “I knew I had to do this if I wanted to keep playing. It’s not that we weren’t trying to do it in St. Louis. For whatever reason, I wasn’t able to find it there and I needed to seek guidance elsewhere.”

    He spent the next few months trying to fix that mechanical issue, speaking with Cincinnati’s Joey Votto, a longtime opponent in the NL Central who had seen his production dip before a resurgence in 2021. 

     Carpenter also worked with a lab hired by his bat company, Marucci, to find a new model better suited to his swing and also sought advice from Tim Laker — now the Dodgers minor league hitting coordinator — and Craig Wallenbrock, the hitting instructor who helped JD Martinez remake his swing.

    Spending several days at each place in an effort to regain his stroke, Carpenter made his last stop in Stillwater, Oklahoma. That’s where he put the finishing touches on his approach with former Cardinals teammate Matt Holliday, a volunteer assistant at Oklahoma State.

    The two had remained close after Holliday left St. Louis for the Yankees in 2017. After Holliday retired following a 2018 season spent with the Rockies, he joined his brother, Josh, the head coach at Oklahoma State.

    Carpenter, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, texted Holliday to see whether he could see him at the school to look at his swing. Holliday accepted.

    Even before that conversation, Holliday had seen Carpenter’s swing devolve.

    “Just watching on TV, his front hip was leaving early, which was pulling him out and around even inside pitches,’’ Holliday said. “He was missing under pitches that were middle-away and then balls that were in, he was hooking a little too much. As a friend and someone who likes hitting, I told him ‘This is what I see’ and we talked about hitting and why his average on balls out over the plate had gone down and why he was getting under balls and striking out more than he ever had.’’

    In addition to talking, Carpenter and Holliday, in his third year coaching at Oklahoma State, worked on tee drills and in the batting cage several days in a row.

    “That’s when it all came together,’’ Carpenter said. “Every guy I hit with, from Laker to Wallenbrock and all the stops along the way had an impact,’’ Carpenter said. “But that week at OSU at the end of the offseason, I felt everything sync up. It’s weird, because I felt I had found what I was looking for, but it was what I’d had and what I’d lost. Now, I feel like my swing is back, my bat is good and I can hit the ball the way I want to hit it.”

     “After a few days, there was a different sound off the bat and the ball was traveling much better,” Holliday said. “He was getting carry on the ball with different spin and it was more true.’’ 

    Carpenter said he turned down some Major League offers, choosing instead to sign a minor league deal with the Rangers.

    “It was close to home, and even though I had other guaranteed deals, I wanted to earn this,’’ said Carpenter, who had six homers and an OPS of .991 in 21 games with Triple-A Round Rock.

    “I didn’t want to just take $2 million from whoever and go struggle again. This has been more rewarding. I went to Triple-A, swung the bat really well and ended up asking for my release.”

    He had a conversation with Texas general manager Chris Young, who agreed to grant Carpenter his release last month for a chance to play in the majors.

    That led to a call from the Yankees, who were interested before Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton went down with injuries.

    Now that both sluggers have returned, the lefty-swinging Carpenter may have a more difficult time getting at-bats, but the Yankees believe there is still space for Carpenter on the roster.

    “For me, just the opportunity alone was worth it, even if it was just for 10 days,’’ Carpenter said. “With the confidence I have in my swing, I think I can have an impact. And with where I’m at in my career, I’m just grateful to be here. I’m gonna enjoy every at-bat and every moment.”   (Dan Martin - June 7, 2022)

  • June 12, 2022: During an 18–4 win over the Cubs, Carpenter was the star of the show. The third baseman went 3-for-4 with two home runs, a double and seven RBI as part of a Yankees onslaught. His two-homer effort gives him 6 in 10 games with the team, making him the first player in franchise history to accomplish that feat. 

    His 1.125 slugging percentage with the Yankees is the highest mark by a player in his first 10 games with any AL franchise all-time.

  • As of the start of the 2022 season, Matt's career Major League stats were: .262 batting average, 155 homers and 1,153 hits with 576 RBI in 4,403 at-bats.
Fielding
  • Matt exhibits good instincts at third base. But his range and arm are only adequate. He can make some slick plays at the hot corner when he gets moving. He is working to become more comfortable on his backhand.

  • During 2013 spring training, Carpenter was taught how to play second base by Jose Oquendo. But first, as the offseason began, Oquendo loaded video of Robinson Cano and Brandon Phillips onto Carpenter's personal iPad. Then, in spring camp he emulated those two.

    In Cano, Carpenter finds a model for his hands. He has zeroed in on how quickly the infielder releases his throws and the effortless nature of his arm action. Having such fluidity at the position may never be that natural for Carpenter, but steps closer will suffice.

  • Then there's Phillips, who offers a prototype in how to turn two. The way in which Phillips follows through toward first when trying to complete a double play is a motion that Oquendo and Carpenter have already begun to practice.

  • Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he is highly impressed with the excellent play of Carpenter at second base.

    "He's made some tough plays look very easy," Matheny said. "I give [infield coach] Jose Oquendo a lot of credit for the in-game instruction, constantly point him in the right direction or giving him a reminder of something that might be going on, whether it's a bunt defense or a cut-off situation.

    "That's the one variable that we knew we had, the work ethic," Matheny continued. "He's not afraid to work. He'll outwork anybody. You take talent and you mix that together, you're set up to give yourself a good chance."

  • Carpenter might be the National League's best second baseman (midway through the 2013 season). When the Cardinals opened 2013 Spring Training, he'd made just two career starts at second. He had no history there, either, having played third base in high school  and at TCU. He played third almost exclusively in the Minor Leagues. But the Cardinals already had one of baseball's best third basemen in David Freese.

    When the 2012 season ended, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny asked him to work on playing second exclusively next season. Carpenter called it "a homework assignment."

    He poured himself into it, splitting his workouts between a Houston fitness facility and the University of Houston, where one of his college coaches, Todd Whiting, had taken over the program.

    "It's not an easy transition to make," Matheny said. "All those things you just never know about a player until you see him on an everyday basis. You see hands. That's the first thing. And his athleticism. The one thing that seemed pretty obvious to us is the fact he's a tireless, relentless worker. You mix that with the ability and conscientiousness and attitude, and you set yourself up for a pretty good result."

  • But in 2014, Freese went to the Angels and heralded rookie Kolten Wong played second base. So Carpenter went back to third base. And since then, he has played a lot of first base too.

Running
  • Although Matt has below average speed, he has a great OBP and, therefore, scores a ton of runs.

  • Feb 1, 2018: Carpenter turns to analytics to enhance  his baserunning skills. As he settled in for a winter back home in Texas, Matt Carpenter started with his annual exercise of evaluating the season. And when it came to his own individual performance, two things struck him as inadequate. One was his defense, which was too inconsistent for Carpenter's liking. The other, his baserunning.

    "I feel like I can do a better job of that," Carpenter said of the latter. "And that has nothing to do with speed. It's just making better decisions."

    Indeed, Carpenter made a series of curious decisions on the bases in 2017. He was bitten by his own aggressiveness several times, which led to Carpenter being thrown out on the bases a team-high nine times, including five at home. That, too, led the club. And there were other times when Carpenter wasn't opportunistic enough. According to Baseball Reference, he finished with an extra-bases-taken percentage of 29, the lowest of his career. For context, league average was 40 percent.

    "That comes back to opportunity and being aware of the situation," said Carpenter, who is entering his age-32 season. "For a guy like me to go first-to-third, you have to find the right ball and the right play to make sure you can get it, because it doesn't do me any good to go first-to-third and get thrown out. That's one thing I have to be aware of."

    Carpenter took his evaluation one step further this offseason and requested a packet of information from the Cardinals' analytics department. His objective? To gather data about players who have similar speed to him but grade out as plus baserunners. Carpenter then studied their methods and technique.

    "You look at where I am, my age, and who you are from an athletic standpoint is who you are," Carpenter said. "I'm just trying to figure out what they're doing and how they do it and ] then incorporating that into my game." One of the examples given to him was Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt. Another was his own teammate, Yadier Molina.

    "If he was here, he would say that he was faster than me, but I promise you he's not faster than me," Carpenter said. "Yadier Molina grades out really well as a baserunner because he doesn't make mistakes and he finds a way to get the extra base when it's presented to him. Opportunistic is a great word to describe him. Getting closer to that for me would be ideal."

    While personnel and directive contributed to the issues, the Cardinals also had a missing piece who, in Carpenter's assessment, was critical. That would be Jose Oquendo, the team's longtime third-base coach who has been absent the last two seasons. Oquendo is returning to the big league staff this season. (J Langosch - MLB.com - Feb 1, 2018)

Career Injury Report
  • At TCU: Carpenter missed one season in college to recover from Tommy John surgery.

  • May 23-June 22, 2012: Matt was on the D.L. with a right oblique strain. He exited the game the night before against the Padres with pain he described as a "knife in his rib" after hitting a double down the left-field line.

  • July 7-Aug 5, 2016: Matt was on the DL with right oblique strain.
  • June 29-July 11, 2019: Matt was on the IL with lower back strain.

  • July 16-Aug 4, 2019: Matt was on the IL with right foot contusion. He fouled a ball off his foot in the Cardinals’ 7-0 win over the Pirates at Busch Stadium.

  • Aug. 9, 2022: The New York Yankees placed infielder/outfielder Matt Carpenter on the 10-day injured list.

    Carpenter fractured his foot in a win over the Seattle Mariners when he swung at the 0-1 pitch and fouled the ball directly onto the top of his foot, as he described it. 

    Aug 10, 2022: Matt saw Seattle Seahawks foot specialist in the morning on Aug. 10. He plans to be back in the 2022 season.