This week’s WAR Graph is very flattering to a current Cardinal, not so much to former.
Matt Carpenter, of course, is a second baseman of necessity, not by trade – as was a predecessor. It seems safe to say at this stage that Matt’s taken to it a bit better than the previous player to switch positions. That’s not a dig on Skip Schumaker, as you’ll see in the graphs below, Skip held his own in terms of providing value as far as WAR is concerned – it was just almost entirely with the bat.
On the flip side, Carpenter’s half-2013 already stands as the best “season” by a Cardinal second baseman in the 2000’s, currently sitting at 3.7 fWAR. The runner-up is Fernando Vina‘s 2000 when he posted 3.1 fWAR. Carpenter’s 3.7 fWAR is the best number for a Cards second-baseman since Delino DeShields’ 3.8 in 1997, and he’s getting up into some heady territory around names like Red Schoendienst and Frankie Frisch (he’s got some work to do to get to Rogers Hornsby).
So how does Carpenter stack up against his peers of the 2000 Cardinal second base fraternity? On to the graphs! For purposes of comparison on the graphs, I only used the players who started the most games in every season back to 2000, as listed on Baseball Reference.
So not only is Matt’s 2013 half-season the best among the 2000’s for season’s that these guys actually played for the Cardinals, his 2013 is just about the best season any of these guys had in their careers.
Again, some work left for Carpenter to do in his career to catch up with the guys who had longer MLB careers – Fernando Vina and Mark Grudzielanek – but he’s already third on this list.
Finally, when viewed by age, we’re reminded that Carpenter got a bit of a late start, but it’s obvious he is having an impact season when compared to past Cardinal second sackers.
With Kolten Wong waiting in the wings, it remains to be seen if Carpenter will stick at second base. If not, his 2013 could be one heck of a blip on Cardinal second base history.