2014 VEB Community Projections: Matt Carpenter

USA TODAY Sports

It's hard to put into words exactly how awesome Matt Carpenter was last year, but I will try. He hit .318/.392/.481 in his first season playing full-time, and also his first season playing second base. He topped the 2B wRC+ chart with 147, and rode that (along with very good baserunning and average defense) to the top of the 2B WAR chart, with 7.0. He was better than perennial All-Star candidates Robinson Cano (6.0), Dustin Pedroia (5.4), Ben Zobrist (5.4), and Chase Utley (3.9). Jason Kipnis, another young star, checked in with 4.5.

Like Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter was unheralded out of college (13th round draft pick), reached the Majors relatively late (25), has hit for a confoundingly high BABIP (.351 so far in his career), and changed positions once he got to the Majors. Unlike Craig, however, Carpenter has always walked. In 472 PA in AA, he walked 13.6% of the time. In 535 PA in AAA, he walked 15.7% of the time. So far in the Majors, he's walked 10% of the time. That means that even if his BABIP regresses to non-Ichirian levels, he'll still get on-base and use his doubles power to keep his slugging percentage high enough to keep pitchers honest.

The big question is regression. Carpenter's probably not a 7 WAR player. His .351 career BABIP is unlikely to stay that high. Hopefully, his other skills make up for that fact, but where does he ultimately settle in? Is he going to be a solid above-average regular at 3B, or is he going to be consistently in the 5-7 WAR range?

GRATUITOUS MATT CARPENTER GIF:

Cardshr3_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

Let us know your projections below! Stats via Fangraphs

Season

Age

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

CS

BABIP

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

2011

25

7

19

0

0

0

0

0

0.091

0.067

0.263

0.133

0.213

30

2012

26

114

340

6

44

46

1

1

0.346

0.294

0.365

0.463

0.355

126

2013

27

157

717

11

126

78

3

3

0.359

0.318

0.392

0.481

0.381

147

Total


278

1076

17

170

124

4

4

.351

.306

.381

.470

.370

138

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