I was having a discussion with a colleague a few weeks back about (has it been that long?) my previous post. Specifically, we were talking about first base and Matt Carpenter.
I would say, Yadier Molina and Carp are my two favorite players on the team. Yadi isn’t going anywhere, but Carp…
Carp mainly plays three positions: 1B, 2B, and 3B.
We have Jose Martinez, who did a great job this season, to possibly man 1B for the future. Kolten Wong is our 2B.
That leaves 3B.
Jedd Gyorko had a solid year last year, hitting .272 with 20 homers and a solid .341 OBP. The 20 homers, however, were a drop from the previous year, when he hit 30 in a similar number of plate appearances. (438 in 2017, 481 in 2017, so more appearances, less homers.)
Carp, despite hitting .241, over 30 points less, dwarfs Gyorko’s OBP having a .384 OBP. He also hit 3 more homers than Gyorko, though admittedly in more plate appearances. Roughly 140 in fact. But power, as mentioned above, isn’t the key to Carp’s game.
Good OBP skills are perhaps my favorite offensive trait, not the ability to hit homers, or steal bases, or any other offensive skill. My favorite non-Cardinal is probably Joey Votto, due to his OBP skills. The man had an insane .454 OBP this year, which is only the 3rd best OBP of his career. (The best is a .474 OBP in 2012, a year which he finished a mind-bogglingly 14th in the MVP vote.)
Anyways, back to Carpenter and Gyorko. Gyorko’s OBP this year was easily a career high. His 2nd best was a. 306 OBP last season. By contrast, this was Carp’s second best, and third of .380 or higher.
Both men play the same positions, so having the pair of them is redundant, especially if Jose Martinez is for real. If it obvious yet, my vote would be to trade Gyorko. I like Carp’s skills better, and the intangibles point in his direction as well: He came up with the team, whereas Gyorko came to us via a trade with San Diego. Carp has also emerged as part of the leadership group of the team, along with Yadi and Adam Wainwright.
So if you really have to trade one, keep Carpenter and trade Gyorko.
As always, thanks for reading.