Here’s what I wrote thirteen days ago in unveiling Matt Carpenter’s projection survey to the Viva El Birdos community.
Spring Training has started and many St. Louis Cardinals players are in The Best Shape Of Their Life (TM). And now it is time for the annual Viva El Birdos tradition of Community Player Projections.
For the second consecutive year, we begin the series with Matt Carpenter. Following a 2016 season hampered by injuries, Carpenter logged 622 plate appearances in 2017, hitting 23 home runs, scoring 91 runs, and driving in 69 runs. Never much of a stolen base threat, Carpenter did top his 2016 stolen base total of zero with a whopping two in 2017.
Although Carpenter posted a relatively pedestrian .241 batting average on the season, the Cardinals second baseman-turned-third baseman-turned-first baseman remains a sabermetric darling, drawing walks in 17.5% of his plate appearances and finishing the season with a .384 on-base percentage, his best since 2013. His slugging percentage of .451, however, was his lowest since 2014. In the end, Carpenter’s 2.9 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement was the worst since he became a regular starter while his 2.9 Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement was tied for his worst since 2013.
If Carpenter bats third, as expected, for the entire season, his RBI totals should increase, and his relatively low batting average on balls in play, a career-low .274, could signal improvement. However, Spring Training injury concerns could hamper Carpenter and if he is even more consigned to first base, it may reduce his overall defensive value by Wins Above Replacement metrics.
The results are listed below. For those of you saying “Hey, why weren’t RBI included in the projections?”, I say this: RBI is a worthless and terrible statistic. It is entirely conditional upon one’s spot in the lineup and is not reflective of his true ability. As a sabermetrically-inclined blog, it is beneath the dignity of Viva El Birdos to consider it. Good day!
And to those who reply, “Well, why did you include runs?”, the answer is I’m stupid and forgot to include RBI in the forms and didn’t realize this until it was way too late. Oh well, we have the go-to saber stats here, so there’s that.
Matt Carpenter projections