Mystery Cardinal Is Just Fine…

I’m going to give you a slash line: .266/.365/.478 with 16 homers and 29 doubles.All of this done in 387 AB’s. Pretty good, no?

Those stats belong to Matt Carpenter. I remember not long ago, everybody was freaking out about Carp, wondering what had happened to him. It’s called a slump people, even the good hitters get them. After rebounding, he currently has the 2nd best slugging percentage of his career (and is only three points below his best, 478 as opposed to his .481 in 2013) And he’s on pace for his first 20 homer season of his career. Not bad for a guy who was seemingly giving everybody a panic attack not long ago.

Now, the theory going around is it helped that Mike Matheny returned him to the leadoff spot. My question is: Why did Matheny remove him from there in the first place?

Sure, Kolten Wong and Jason Heyward are faster, and the whole “LEADOFF HITTERS MUST BE FAST!!!” thing has been around forever and is harder to kill than a cockroach on steroids.

Still, even with that, Carp had been an effective lead off hitter when he was there. He’s currently working headed towards having four straight years of an OBP higher than .360. To me *that* is what a lead off hitter needs, an ability to get on base. That’s why I’d take a guy like Carp over a guy like Billy Hamilton any day. Speed does you no good if you can’t get on! This seems so basic, yet you’d be amazed how many people would seemingly choose Hamilton as their lead off hitter over Carp any given day of the week.

Yes, Hamilton’s speed is awesome, it’s something for Reds’ fans to dream on. Until he improves as a hitter and becomes more patient (.221 average, .267 OBP this year) though, that’s all it will be, is a dream.

I’ll stick with what’s real, and what I thought was always going to return, and has: Matt Carpenter’s production. Now leave him in the lead off spot Mike!

As always, thanks for reading.

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