1. Matt Carpenter is an MVP candidate. Take a look at the numbers and where Carpenter ranks in the NL:
OBP: .418 (2nd)
SLG: .585 (3rd)
OPS: 1.003 (1st)
2B: 24 (1st)
XBH: 43 (1st)
wRC: 167 (1st)
Additionally, Carpenter’s positional versatility makes him (in my opinion) the most valuable player in the National League this year.
2. Carpenter’s power has bred…responsibility?
The OBP and the SLG are eye-popping, but take a look at maybe the most telling numbers of all. Carpenter is putting up career bests in both AB/HR (18.9) and BB/PA (0.164), also BB/K (0.93). What does that mean? While Carpenter is hitting more home runs per at bat at any time in his career, it isn’t coming at the expense of getting on base. Impressive.
3. I still can’t get TOO worked up about the home record.
The Cardinals are a good team. Do they have flaws? Sure. But they’re a good team. I think you can still reasonably chalk some of the home issues to bad luck. Using the Pythagorean expectation, a calculation of expected win-loss record for a team based on their runs scored and allowed, the Cardinals “should” (grain of salt) be 46-31. I still expect some normalization, especially in the one-run losses.
4. How about those one-run losses?
From our good buddies @VivaElBirdos: “The Cardinals are 6-14 in one-run games. Last year: 32-23. Not satisfying that the meaningful difference between the two is mostly random.”
5. Let’s give Kolten Wong some time.
Wong has looked overwhelmingly solid in the outfield for the Cardinals. Matt Carpenter, my MVP candidate, had his breakout season at age 27, in 2013. Wong will be 27 in 2018. Despite all the talk of his contract, he is making an overwhelmingly reasonable $1.25m this year, $2.5m next year, and will be just a $4m player in his age 27 season, 2018. Just a thought.