Cardinals Prospect Interview: Matt Carpenter

The next installment in the St. Louis Cardinals' draft series features one of the system's hottest hitters, Matt Carpenter.

It is known throughout professional baseball that the St. Louis Cardinals prefer drafting college players with proven track records.  The team stayed the course when it chose Matt Carpenter in the 13th round during last month's draft. 

 

Carpenter leaves a solid TCU program as one of most decorated players in history of the school.  He ranks first all-time in career games played with 241. His 263 career hits ties him for second all-time with the San Diego Padres' Chad Huffman while his 57 doubles is second all-time and his 159 RBIs are fourth all-time.

 

This spring for the Horned Frogs, he was one of only two players to appear in all 58 games and finished second on the squad with a .333 batting average. For the second straight season, he tallied 11 home runs, while driving in 47. His 23 doubles on the season is a new single-season record.  

 

What makes his numbers even more impressive is the transformation he made during his career.  Before suffering a season ending torn ligament in his right elbow as a junior in 2007, he has hit only a single home run in 241 at bats. What initially was a severe blow that threatened his career, it forced the infielder to reevaluate his approach to the game.  He came back as one of the most feared hitters in the Mountain West Conference.   

 

Since joining the Cardinals' organization, Carpenter has been one of the organization's hottest hitters.  The 23-year-old started his career at Batavia.  His stay in the New York Penn League would be short after he posted a slash line of .469/.541/.563 in nine games for the Muckdogs. 

 

Carpenter next became the first player from this year's draft class to be promoted with a move to the Quad Cities.  He has not missed a beat, hitting .458/.500/.708 in 24 at bats for the River Bandits.

 

After Tuesday night's action, Carpenter was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions.  

 

Dustin Mattison: Tell me about draft day.

 

Matt Carpenter:  Draft day for me was a really exciting day. To be perfectly honest, I was not sure if I was going to be drafted at all. I had only talked to a few teams, the Tigers, the Diamondbacks, and the Cardinals.  So, I was not sure what was going to happen. To be selected in the 13th round by the Cardinals was awesome and I will remember that day for the rest of my life.

 

DM: You are making pro ball look pretty easy.  What has this beginning of your pro career been like?

 

MC:  I'm just really excited to be playing professional baseball. I am having fun every day I go to the ballpark and getting the chance to play everyday has been awesome. 

 

DM: Can you give me a scouting report on Matt Carpenter?

 

MC:  Matt Carpenter plays the game hard and knows the game well. He is not going to impress you with flash but gets the job done.

 

DM: What did you know about the Cardinal organization before they drafted you?  Did you happen to get to talk to former Horned Frog, Brad Furnish?

 

MC:  No I didn't get a chance to talk to Furnish. I really did not know much about the Cardinals' organization except of all the history of their major league teams.

 

DM: Tell me about hitting against Stephen Strasburg. 

 

MC:  Strasburg is the closest thing to Superman I have ever seen. He's the real deal and all the hype he gets is well deserved.

 

DM: You leave TCU as one of the most decorated hitters in the school's history.  What does that mean to you and how important was that experience in preparing you to further your career? 

 

MC:  My time at TCU was amazing and without a doubt made me into the player/person that I am today.  To be able to leave my career there on such a high note really means a lot to me.

 

DM: I believe you spent some summers in the Texas Collegiate League.  How valuable was that experience in preparing for professional baseball?   

 

MC: Getting the opportunity to play in the TCL definitely helped me prepare for a minor league season. 

 

DM: You missed the bulk of the 2007 season due to a torn ligament in your right elbow, which required Tommy John surgery. Was their silver lining to having a medical red-shirt year?

 

MC: There is no doubt that the injury was the best thing to ever happen to me. I got to stay at TCU to finish my degree and I am now getting the privilege of being a professional baseball player.

 

DM: What was it like to play on a HS team that was named the USA Today National Champions? 

 

MC: That particular team was full of great players. James Loney who is the first baseman for the Dodgers, Chad Huffman who is in Triple-A for the Padres, Wardell Starling was in Double-A with the Pirates.   Another, Kelly Shearer played five years in the minors for the Angels. To get to play with those guys and win a national championship was something I will always remember. My dad was the coach so that made it even more special. 

 

DM: The park in the Quad Cities is my favorite in all the minor leagues.  How do you like it?

 

MC: The stadium is absolutely beautiful. Plus, the fans are great.  I love it. 

 

DM: Did you know any of your teammates at Batavia or the Quad Cities?

 

MC: I played against a couple of guys, Tyler Lavigne and Chris Corrigan but I didn't really know anyone personally. 

 

DM: When you are not playing baseball, how do you like to spend your time?

 

MC: I enjoy relaxing with friends and family. I love the water; beach, lakes, rivers, anything where I can just relax in the sun.

 

DM: What should Cardinal fans know about you that they probably would not know? 

 

MC:  Um, I have no idea.  I have two middle names: Martin and Lee. 

 

I thank Matt for his time and wish him the best of luck in his career with the Cardinals.

 

 

Scout.com Cardinals 2009 Draft Interview Series

 

Scott Schneider (20th round)

Scott Bittle (4th round)

Alan Ahmady (11th round)

Ross Smith (14th round)

Nick McCully (7th round)

Robert Stock (2nd round)

 

 

Dustin Mattison can be contacted at dustin@whiteyball.com. Follow Dustin at Twitter: www.twitter.com/whiteyball  

 

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