Springfield Cardinals 2010 Player of the Year

Third baseman Matt Carpenter is The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Springfield Player of the Year for 2010.

The decision to make third baseman Matt Carpenter Springfield's Player of the Year was clear cut. While there were several Springfield players whose seasons are worth noting, Carpenter had the best offensive season on the Cardinals and he plays a premium defensive position.

Carpenter (DOB 11/26/85) was selected in the 13th round of the June 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Texas Christian University. He began his professional career at short-season A Batavia and was promoted to full season A Quad Cities in late June. Carpenter finished the last month of the 2009 season at A-Advanced Palm Beach. He began 2010 at Palm Beach and was promoted to Springfield on May 10th. Carpenter is the first member of St. Louis' 2009 draft class to reach the Double-A level. He was about 10 months older than the average age of 23 years, nine months and 16 days when compared to the rest of the Cardinals' closing roster.

Overall, Carpenter posted a line of .316/.412/.487/.900, 125-for-396 in 105 games at Springfield. He had 26 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs, 64 walks and 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts. His 26 doubles were third on the team behind shortstop Pete Kozma's 28 and catcher Steven Hill's 27. He walked an average of once every 7.4 plate appearances which was second behind outfielder Aaron Luna's average of once ever 6.5 plate appearances (100 plate appearance minimum). Carpenter struck out 88 times or once every 5.4 plate appearances or 4.5 at bats.

When compared to the rest of the league, Carpenter's numbers were very competitive. He finished fourth in batting average after leading the league for much of the season. Carpenter was third in on-base percentage, sixth in slugging percentage and third in OPS.

Below is a month-by-month breakdown of Carpenter's offensive numbers:

Matt Carpenter
May 19 76 / 29 0.382 0.447 0.526 0.973
June 24 97 / 24 0.247 0.348 0.361 0.709
July 28 94 / 31 0.330 0.447 0.606 1.054
August 30 112 / 38 0.339 0.441 0.518 0.959
September 4 17 / 3 0.176 0.222 0.176 0.399
Totals: 105 396 / 125 0.316 0.412 0.487 0.900
May 8 / 0 1 9 / 11 1:9.6 1:6.9 0.438
June 5 / 0 2 14 / 23 1:8.3 1:4.2 0.306
July 6 / 1 6 18 / 23 1:6.4 1:4.1 0.385
August 7 / 2 3 22 / 26 1:6.2 1:4.3 0.442
September 0 / 0 0 1 / 5 1:18 1:3.4 0.250
Totals: 26 / 3 12 64 / 88 1:7.4 1:4.5 0.382

Carpenter went .400/.458/.650/1.108, 8-for-20, with two doubles, a home run, two walks, two strikeouts, six runs scored and five driven in during Springfield's five-game post-season run.

Carpenter was named as a replacement to the mid-season Double-A All-Star team that is comprised of two squads and was also named to the more prestigious post-season squad which is made up of just 20 players. He was twice named the Texas League Player of the Week. Defensively, he all of his field appearances came at third base.

Three other 2010 performances should be recognized:

Andrew Brown – Brown (DOB 09/10/84) spent his second season at Springfield where he battled an oblique injury that sidelined him for a month plus. He produced a line of .291/.371/.526/.897, 105-for-361 in 98 games, with 17 doubles, one triple, 41 walks against 98 strikeouts and a .344 BABIP.

Brown placed in the top ten in the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging and OPS. His 22 home runs placed him in a tie for fourth in the league with teammate Steven Hill and his slugging percentage was good for third place. Brown's batting average was tenth best in the league, his on-base percentage was eighth and his .897 OPS tied him for fourth with teammate Aaron Luna.

His best offensive stretch came from August 1st through season's end when he hit .322/.401/.587/.988, 39-for-121 in 32 games, with six doubles, a triple and eight home runs. Brown carried that over into the post-season where he went 6-for-18 in five games with three doubles and five walks against four strikeouts.

He was twice named the league Player of the Week: for the week ending April 18th and again for August 23rd through the 29th. Defensively, Brown began the season mainly playing third base but subsequently split his time between first base and right field after Matt Carpenter's mid-May promotion to Springfield.

Steven Hill – Hill (DOB 03/14/85) began his season as Springfield's main backstop after spending the entire 2009 season there. He was drafted in the 13th round back in June 2007 and is part of the same draft class as Andrew Brown (18th round). Overall, Hill went .280/.352/.543/.895, 101-for-361 in 93 games, with 27 doubles, a triple, 22 home runs, 38 walks and 90 strikeouts. He had a .317 BABIP. Hill's .543 slugging percentage placed him second in the league in that category and his .895 OPS was good for sixth place. As previously mentioned, Hill tied with Andrew Brown for fourth in the league in home runs and his 27 doubles landed him in seventh.

Like Matt Carpenter, Hill was named to both the mid-season and post-season Texas League All-Star squads. He was also named Player of the Week for the period July 12th through 18th. Due to an odd confluence of circumstances Hill was called up to the Big Club on August 11th and eventually spent the remainder of the minor league season with Triple-A Memphis. He was called back up to St. Louis as part of the September expanded roster additions. While he was Springfield's primary option at catcher, Hill did appear at first base in six games.

Aaron Luna – At 23 Luna (DOB 03/28/87) is the youngest of the players highlighted in this article and was six months younger than the average age of those players listed on Springfield's closing roster. Luna has moved through the system fairly quickly after being drafted in the eighth round in 2008. He finished the 2009 season at Springfield where he began and ended the 2010 season. Luna was promoted to Memphis on July 3rd and returned to Springfield on July 28th after seeing limited action with the Redbirds.

Overall, Luna hit .270/.426/.470/.897, 86-for-319 in 103 games, with 13 doubles, three triples, 15 home runs, 63 walks, 73 strikeouts, a .307 BABIP and 25 hit-by-pitches. He was ice cold in the post-season, going .182/.250/.227/.477, 4-for-22 in five games, with a double, a walk and eight strikeouts. Luna's best month was August where he posted a line of .291/.486/.532/1.018, 23-for-79 in 26 games, with five doubles, a triple, four home runs, 22 walks and 26 strikeouts with a .388 BABIP. He led the league with a .426 on-base=percentage and tied for fourth in OPS with Andrew Brown. He was ninth in home runs.

Luna was named as a starter to the mid-season Texas League All-Star team and was named Player of the Week for the period June 14th through 20th. Defensively, he split time almost evenly between left and right fields and also played second base in six games.

The four players listed above were among the main offensive threats on a team that was one of the best in the league with a bat in 2010. They were led by The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Springfield Player of the Year, third baseman Matt Carpenter.

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