Matt Carpenter and his early impact on the offense

Matthew Martin Carpenter, everybody. - Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Are there any trends between Carpenter's hitting performance and the overall offense? Given it's only May 8th, this post is largely in the "for what it's worth" category, but I figured it was still an interesting topic to explore.

Last night on Twitter, I came across the tweet that I have embedded below, and it really got me thinking: Is there some merit behind this statement? Nick said it was "just [his] opinion" and that it was "probably just confirmation bias," but I figured it was still worth checking out.

Thirty-five games into the season, Matt Carpenter is hitting .288/.392/.348 with a .341 wOBA over 158 plate appearances. He has scored 27 runs, knocked in 13, and has struck out 33 times. He has gone hitless in 10 games, has had one hit in 15 games, and has had two or more hits in 10 games this season. The following chart shows the average runs scored per game by the offense in 2014, stratified by how many hits Carpenter collected.

As you can see, the offense averages just 2.0 runs per game when Carpenter goes hitless. That 2.0 run average has led to a team record of 3-7 (.300). When Carpenter collects one hit, the offense averages 3.67 runs per game and has a record of 8-7 (.533). Finally, when Carpenter tallies two or more hits, the offense averages 5.2 runs per game, and the team has a record of 7-3 (.700).

This all makes sense considering he is the leadoff hitter and it is his job to get on base in order to score runs, but the disparity between each category shows just how important Carpenter has been to the offense this season. Now, as I have already said, it is only 35 games into the season, but this is definitely something I would like to revisit one or two more times this season. After 162 games, I would be very interested to see if the team's overall record is similar to what it has been over 35 games.

There are some other things to note that may or may not mean anything. The team is 10-13 when Carpenter has at least one strikeout in a game. When he strikes out two or more times, they are 3-5. The biggest thing of note is the fact that Carpenter has struck out two or more times in 23% of the Cardinals' games this season. When he has been walked at least one time, the team is 11-7. When he has been walked twice, the team is 2-3. Carpenter has scored at least one run in 14 of the team's 18 victories so far, and when he scores two or more runs, the team is 4-1. The team is 5-3 when he has at least one RBI. Finally, considering he was a doubles machine last year, I decided to look at how the team performed in games in which he hit a double (five on the season). They are 3-2 and averaged 4.6 runs scored in those games. Considering the team is currently 24th in runs scored with an average of 3.63 runs per game, one hopes he can keep stringing together good plate appearances going forward.

SABERMATTRICs Update (link to spreadsheet; thanks, @vexedtechie!):

  • Carpenter accounts for 30% of the "Runs Matted In."
  • Carpenter accounts for 56% of the "Matts Batted In."
  • Carpenter has "Matted" just one "Matt" in all season, and that was himself via a homerun on April 4th. This statistic is unfair to Carpenter considering he bats before both of the other Matts in the lineup.
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