Matt Carpenter's first full season was last year, where he was an All Star, played decent to good defense at second base, and just hit the shit out of the baseball in the leadoff spot. Will he have that year again this year? Almost assuredly not. But what should we expect? Anything close?
First off, his move from second base should hurt his fWAR projections. Last year he had 7 fWAR. In 2014, his peak projection is brought to us by Fans (the usual suspect) with 5.2 fWAR. ZiPS thinks he will regress heavily, to 3.4 fWAR and 116 wRC+ (as compared to his 147 in 2013).
Matt Carpenter's averaged fWAR projection equates to 4.3, which is not 7 but still quite excellent. Even if you omit the sunny Fans' projection, the average is still 4 fWAR. That's a great player. If WAR is not your thing, his average wRC+ projection is 125.
And a .366 OBP projection for the Cardinals leadoff hitter means that the offense will be off and running from the get go. His ISO should be right around .141... he should just about match his home run total of 11 this year (I wouldn't be surprised if he surpasses it, really, given a healthy season with babip regression).
One of the most exciting players on the Cardinals roster, Matt Carpenter's narrative has already been created for him this season: can he match the hitting of last year, or even come close to it? And the less obvious narrative being, how much will his defensive prowess improve moving over to third base? Can't wait to see what happens.