St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter has been a very interesting fantasy baseball case over the last few seasons for a myriad of reasons. The first talking point centers on the fact Carpenter’s early years with the Cards as the team’s second baseman included high batting averages with very little power. A move to third base a few seasons later made Carpenter alter his plate approach to maximize power output but at the expense of the previously impressive average. Now exclusively the Cardinals’ first baseman in 2017 (thus losing second and third base eligibility for 2018), Carpenter endured an injury-marred campaign that included some sliding numbers. While Carpenter fought through the injuries (ranging from early season back trouble to end-of-the-year shoulder pain), his .241 average was a career-worst by a mile. Still, that number was of the fluke variety as Carpenter’s .278 BABIP was clearly in the unlucky territory and he still managed a very good 23/91 split in the HR/run columns. What seems apparent here however, is the fact that Carpenter’s early years as a second baseman seem to have taken a physical toll on his body. There are numerous cases of star second baseman that went through early-career declines such as Carlos Baerga, Juan Samuel, and more recently Dustin Pedroia due to the wear-and-tear of manning the position. We are not saying this is 100 percent what is going on with Carpenter but it is likely no coincidence he is dealing with an uptick in health woes at the age of 32. The power is still holding steady for sure but Carpenter looks like a somewhat risky investment for 2018 fantasy baseball given the health trouble and loss of position flexibility.
2018 PROJECTION: .273 22 HR 67 RBI 90 R 2 SB