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Matt Carpenter refuses to swing at the first pitch of the game - A Hunt and Peck

"Swing, darnnit!" "NO!"

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Carpenter has led off forty-two games. He has taken forty-two first pitches. That is basically the gist of this InstaGraph by August Fagerstrom of Fangraphs:

Carpenter is a great hitter, and he has been a great hitter, and this is clearly a conscious choice -- you don't take 42 consecutive first pitches, most of them fastballs, on accident -- so I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt. But it certainly is curious, and it seems like something that could eventually be exploited the longer it goes on, if it hasn't started already.

There is not much to dissect here, but it is an interesting strategy if Carpenter is doing this on purpose, which, as August points out, seems most logical. So why is he doing it? Carpenter is a baseball scientist. He observes pitches. Perhaps he believes a pitcher will miss first pitch more often than not. Maybe he is daring them to throw it down the middle.

Or maybe he is just biding his time, playing a long con.

Matt Carpenter Has Taken the First Pitch of Every Game | FanGraphs Baseball

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