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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK WATCH: MATT CARPENTER 2B/3B ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

When it comes to early National League MVP talk, the usual names such as Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, and Paul Goldschmidt are already being bandied about.  However one under-the-radar bat that should be included in the discussion is St. Louis Cardinals 2B/3B Matt Carpenter who is already validating the 28-home run power explosion so far in 2016.  Heading into Wednesday's games, Carpenter has accumulated the following numbers that deserve some MVP pop:

.284
10 HR
42 RBI
44 R
0 SB

Outside of steals, Carpenter is helping in four standard ROTO categories and the best part about all this is that he is hitting for the same level of very good pop he showed in 2015. Heading into the 2016 season, there was more than just a bit of concern regarding Carpenter as the 28 home runs he smacked the year before seem to be an extreme outlier not to be repeated.  For one thing, Carpenter's previous career-high in home runs was a very mediocre 11 and he was known more for his 100-plus runs and batting title averages he initially put up after becoming a mainstay in the lineup.  After coming up as a second baseman and working as the leadoff batter, Carpenter used a shortened swing and worked the count to put up the big averages and OBP's that led to a slew of runs.  However once the Cards moved Carpenter to third base for 2015, he underwent a change in his hitting approach by swinging more for the fences.  It obviously worked as shown by the 28 home runs but Carpenter gave back in the average department with a shaky .272 mark.  It was easy to see the correlation here as Carpenter's K/9 Rate soared to 22.7 percent which was way above his 15.7 mark the year prior.  Carpenter's fantasy baseball owners were on board with the tradeoff though as power is more valuable and rare in today's game.

Fast forward to 2016 and we have seen more of the same with Carpenter's power and he is filling up the counting numbers in both RBI and runs.  While he doesn't steal bases, Carpenter has upped the average slightly by cutting his K/9 Rate to a more manageable 17.7 percent.  Combine this with a move back to second base where his value is so much higher, Carpenter has been a terrific top tier fantasy baseball asset no matter where you insert him. 

When you put it all together, Matt Carpenter has been every bit as good as he was in 2015 or maybe even better.  he has become one of those classic guys you stick into your lineup and never have to concern yourself with. 

 

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