Some may think of Matt Carpenter as just a useful utility player who can hit for solid average and play ball anywhere you put him. However, he is so, so much more. Boating a .309 batting average and .394 on base percentage, it's about time he gets a bit more recognition. His career major league batting average now stands at .293 and he gets on base at a very respectable .365 clip. However, with virtually no base-stealing threat, and little power to speak of, one look hardly shows Matt Carpenter as the valuable player he most certainly is.
Some more notable parts of his game are his low strike out percentage (12.3%) which plays into his impressive .96 walk over strikeout ratio. In other words, this guy is just as likely to draw a walk as he is to strike out which means he makes pitchers work hard and won't give up on at-bats. Although sample sizes are small, it is also worth noting that despite his year-on-year increase in batting average, Carpenter's batting average on balls in play has remained constant. This statistic, (BABIP), is often referred to as a "luck statistic.". However, this can be misleading since some people falsely believe that it means that if a player has a high BABIP, then they are likely to run out of luck and see a regression. In reality, when looking at BABIP, the only change that can be indicative of luck is a change with respect to the player's whole career. In other words, if a player has a .370 BABIP over the course of their career, they are not just getting lucky. If a player has a .330 BABIP over their career, then one year it spikes to .390, then one could safely conclude that either significant improvements have been made in the players approach and swing, or the player is getting lucky and will regress. Bear with me because this does come back to Matt Carpenter. In his short time in the majors last year his BABIP was .346, this year it is .344. I see this as as good of a sign as any that his impressive hitting could continue down the stretch.
Perhaps Matt Carpenters most impressive statistics are his wOBA and wRC+. wOBA, weighted on-base average, measures a players production by weighting different hits and contributions accordingly. For example, a player is given more credit for a double then he would for a single. However, both hits would have the same effect on generic average and on-base measurements. wRC+, weighted runs created plus, combines all offensive contributions a player makes in a way that really matters. It simply estimates how many runs a player is worth to his team over the course of the season. Matt Carpenter impressively leads the team in both these statistics, barely beating out the much-more-acclaimed Yadier Molina. Here's t hoping he can keep it up!