School: Texas Christian University
Selected 2010 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (7): An unknown coming into the season, Matt Carpenter didn't sniff the top 40 in last year's countdown. Now after a Minor League Player of the Year season, the former TCU Horned Frog checks in at number six. Looking at his college stats, he has always produced at the plate and he has continued that trend during his minor league career.
Carpenter is not your typical power hitting third baseman but is cut more in the Bill Mueller/Ken Oberkfell mold. He is a guy that uses all parts of the field and will nickel and dime you to death with singles and doubles. He shows good strike zone judgment and terrific polish at the plate. He has a great work ethic and seems to be very coachable.
Carpenter's defense is improving. He came to professional baseball with a few bad habits but his manager at Springfield, Pop Warner, works very well with infielders so I would not be surprised to see him start back at Double-A in 2011. We may be a little bullish on Carpenter but when looking over his track record, it is easy to do.
Message board community (5): Matt Carpenter clocked in at fifth for the community after not making the list at all the year before. He was a 13th round pick in 2009 and though he made it to Palm Beach in his first year, his OPS declined from 1.103 at Batavia to .795 at Quad Cities to .628 at Palm Beach (the last in 128 plate appearances). And he was drafted older than most, at 23. (He turned 25 this past November.)
But in 2010 he made short work of his time at Palm Beach, with an OPS of .845 in (again) 128 plate appearances. And then he went on to .412 OBP, .487 SLG work at Springfield, with better work after the break (.958 OPS) than before (.824). And he stole 11 bases for Springfield, too. His OPS was good for third in the Texas League, just edging out teammates Andrew Brown, Aaron Luna, and Steven Hill, all of whom finished in the .890's.
Carpenter's rise was so fast that I don't think the community has a good feel yet for what he will do. There was some concern that his OPS was mostly OBP, and getting some slugging at third would be very helpful. (With the exception of one game, all of his minor league appearances have been at third.) But he did pop nine homers after the break at Springfield, so perhaps he will have some pop to go with getting on base.
I'd guess he will start 2011 at Memphis and he could be on call if Freese and other options in the big leagues are not working out. - Gagliano
Brian Walton (8): While maybe it was a problem with those of us who rank prospects, perhaps it also says something about the organization that a player not among the top 40 one year can leap to becoming its Player of the Year 12 months later.
Supporting the former view is Carpenter's 2010 manager, Springfield's Pop Warner. His reply when I asked him if this third baseman was major league material was a resounding, "Absolutely."
"One thing I will say about him is he has great work ethic," Warner said. "He picks up on stuff really fast. Defensively, he is going to be fine. He just needs to keep working at what he does. He is going to be the guy who makes the routine plays for you and he is an accurate thrower. His bat is going to play for sure. He finds a way to put the barrel on the bat every time."
I agree with the assessment above that Carpenter should be challenged with a Triple-A assignment to start the 2011 season and if he excels, an opportunity in St. Louis could open up at any time.
Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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