2015 was an up and down season – but mostly way up – for third baseman Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals.
There was an early scare, though. Through 27 games, the 29-year-old was leading the team in runs scored, doubles, home runs and RBI while batting .333. So it was a major surprise when he was kept home from a road trip to Pittsburgh due to what manager Mike Matheny called “extreme fatigue”.
After missing just four games, Carpenter picked right back up where he had been. He finished the regular season with 154 games played, meaning he took just four more games off over the final 4 1/2 months. That games-played total was just one off the team lead, and his 665 plate appearances were the most by any Cardinal in 2015.
Not only did Carpenter finish first on the team in RBI and home runs, his 28 long balls are the most by a left-handed hitting third baseman in team history. They were also the most by a Cardinals left-handed hitter at any position in a decade, since Jim Edmonds hit 29 in 2005.
Carpenter paced the entire National League with his 44 doubles and was fifth in the league with his team-best 101 runs scored.
The Texan logged 51 multi-hit games, tied for fifth-most in the NL. Carpenter led the Cardinals in walks (81) and slugging percentage (.505), both eighth in the league. His team-best on-base percentage (.365) ranked 14th in the NL.
In terms of production, Carpenter ranked seventh in the league and tops on the Cardinals with 14 game-winning RBI. He batted .327 (36-for-110) with runners in scoring position, 12th in the NL. The Cardinals went 17-4 in the 21 games in which Carpenter scored two or more runs.
In reality, Carpenter was the only hitter on the club who put together an entire standout season. As such, it was not surprising that he was the highest-ranked member of his team in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting.
Yet Carpenter’s distant 12th-place finish did not adequately reflect his value to the 100-win 2015 Cardinals.
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