Does Cardinals' second baseman Matt Carpenter deserve to be in consideration for National League Most Valuable Player? In my opinion, the answer is a resounding YES!
Carpenter, the St. Louis leadoff batter, is the spark plug for the Cardinals' offense that currently has the team in first place.
The Cardinals' second baseman leads the National League in doubles, runs scored, and base hits. He is sixth in batting average and seventh in triples. He is also among the top-25 in runs batted in the National League.
Carpenter's 48 doubles through Sunday are a franchise record for a second baseman. The previous record (46) was set by Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby back in 1922. The last time a Cardinals second baseman led the team in doubles was when Tommy Herr cranked out 38 two-baggers back in 1985. Currently, teammate Yadier Molina is second on the team with 39 doubles.
The last time any Cardinals' player recorded 50-plus doubles in a season was Albert Pujols back in 2003 and 2004 with 51 each year.
His 100-plus runs scored are another statistic of historic importance.Before Carpenter, the last Cardinals second baseman that crossed the plate 100 times was Don Blasingame in 1953 with 108 runs scored. As for the 112 he has through Sunday, no Cardinals second sacker had scored that many since Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch scored 121 back in 1930.
With 19 games remaining, Carpenter has a realistic shot at equaling Frisch's total from 1930.
Twenty-eight times this season, Carpenter has scored multiple runs in a game. Carpenter has scored twice 23 times. During those games, St. Louis has a 21-2 record. There have also been five games in which Carpenter scored three runs and the Cardinals have won all five games. Overall, when Carpenter scores multiple runs, the Redbirds have a record of 26-2.
As for his base hit, Carpenter has 56 games with multiple hits. During those games, the Cardinals are 42-14 when their second baseman reaches base safely via a base hit.
Breaking down Carpenter's hits you can see he has 41 games with two hits, 12 games with three hits, and three games in which he tallied four hits. The Redbirds are 29-12 when Carpenter has two hits and 11-1 when he has three hits in a game. Finally, St. Louis is 2-1 when Carpenter has four hits.
That isn't all for Carpenter though. He is the Cardinals' leadoff batter and it is his job to set the table. From the leadoff spot this season, Carpenter has scored 96 of his runs and clubbed 40 of his doubles. He also has 153 hits as well as 52 walks from the No. 1 spot in the batting order.
Many will say that Cardinals' teammates Molina and Allen Craig deserve more consideration than Carpenter does. But the fact is, this year, Carpenter is the guy leading this team. He may not lead the team in batting average (Molina does with .320 mark), runs batted in (Craig leads with 97) or even home runs (Carlos Beltran has the team lead with 23), but without Carpenter setting the table, scoring the runs, and even driving in runs, the Cardinals would not be a first place team.