By: Braden Zimmerman
With the addition of Paul Goldschmidt in the offseason, the Cardinals now have a firm number three hitter in the batting order. Over the past few seasons, the Cards haven’t had a solid guy in that position, and have experimented with putting Matt Carpenter there. In 2019, however, Carp will stay in his natural spot, lead-off.
The batting order splits for Matt Carpenter in 2018 tell an interesting story. In 17 games batting third in the lineup, Carp batted .175 with 2 home runs, 10 RBIs, and a .671 OPS, and in 15 games in the two spot he batted .246 with 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, and a .795 OPS. Now in 115 games in the leadoff spot in 2018, he batted .264 with 30 home runs, 60 RBIs, and a .919 OPS. If it isn’t clear enough that Matt Carpenter was much better in the leadoff spot, let’s look at his total base per game ratio in 2018. In the second and third positions, Carp had a 1.73 and 1.12 TB/G ratio, while in the lead-off spot he had a 2.04 TB/G ratio. While his career numbers are not identical to his 2018 numbers, they are very similar and tell the same story.
So in 2019, Cardinals fans will be happy to see Matt Carpenter at the top of the lineup. After Manager Mike Schildt took over last year, Carp became a staple at the lead-off spot and will continue that this year. Having a career .287 average and .885 OPS in the lead-off spot is a good look for a team aspiring to win the NL Central.