By Jordan Shusterman
MLB Sports Writer FOX
Much to the dismay of another 29 fan base, 2022 New York Yankees is a very good baseball team.
Aaron Judge is the AL MVP favorite and may hit 60 home runs. Anthony Rizzo delivers clutch hits almost every day. The early pitch was absolutely dominant, and Clay Holmes has emerged as one of the best relievers in baseball.
At 39-15 (0.722 W%), the Yankees are on a run to win 117 games. One hundred and seventeen games!!!!!!!
And this incredible start goes beyond the obvious superstars in their primes. The best teams in baseball always get contributions from places you least expect. Nestor Cortes Jr. Acne and Holmes somewhat fits into this category. But arguably nothing sums up the incredible success of the 2022 Yankees more than 36-year-old Matt Carpenter’s stunning rejuvenation.
I’ll be honest: I think this guy was washed.
And frankly, I don’t think I’m alone. You don’t have to be an analytic expert to spot Carpenter’s foul trends as he enters his mid-30s and assume he may no longer be a useful major league hitter. And that’s fine! This is the man who received a $1,000 signing bonus in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Draft as a 23-year-old redshirt senior from TCU and turned himself into a three-time All-Star who has earned over $80 million.
If the Matt Carpenter saga did end after the Cardinals turned down the $18.5 million option for the 2022 season, that would be a very bad career.
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But perhaps unsurprisingly, a player who has overcome the odds time and time again will not hang his nails prematurely, even if the only team he has ever known no longer needs him.
As recently as 2018, Carpenter was still an excellent hitter. His 140 wRC+ ranked 11th among the 140 eligible hitters, and he finished ninth in the NL MVP vote. That was four years and a pandemic ago, and the decline has been sharp and steady since then. His 87 wRC+ from 2019 to ’21 ratings Rating 196 out of 220 players with at least 800 plate appearances in that range. Carpenter lost game time, the numbers barely match the MVP candidate he once was, and he enters the 36-year-old season in 2022.
Now, the only saving grace for Carpenter is that he is still drawing the streets at above average speed. While his overall line is lacking, his 13.3% running rate remains one of the best in the league. Still, he’s definitely not as impactful on baseball as he was when he was an extra hitting machine in 2018. Carpenter’s plate discipline remains excellent, but his lack of strength means the Cardinals no longer see him as an integral part of them. line up. Time in St. Louis has ended.
So, shortly after the lockdown was lifted and the new CBA reached, Carpenter signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. When he didn’t keep a major league team out of spring training, he reported to Round Rock, where he easily became one of the most decorated players on the Triple-A roster.
When players with significant MLB time like Carpenter sign minor league deals, they often include an opt-out date at which the player can request his release if he doesn’t think an opportunity at major league level is imminent.
And while he hit well in his 21 games with Round Rock — .275/.379/.613 with six home runs, including dingers in his last three games with the Express — Rangers decided against calling him, so Carpenter asked.
A week later, he signed with the Yankees and talked about how he believed he had been made some changes out of season it will help him return to being the hitter he was in 2018, and he says his good start in Triple-A leaves him optimistic that he will return to his best.
The next day, he did this:
About a week later, he fought Shohei Ohtani for 11 throws before launching an early homer into the second deck:
The long stroke set the tone for what would have been a rocky start for Ohtani and the Yankees’ two-goal clearance from the Angels.
Then the Tigers come to town, and Carpenter continues to do damage:
In fact, in a matter of weeks, Carpenter had stopped playing against a team called Space Cowboys in front of some 3,000 fans in Triple-A to launch a home run for the best team in baseball in front of a crowd of over 40,000 at Yankee Stadium.
And if his well-timed homer, lack of batting gloves and fantastic facial hair weren’t enough to endear him to his fan base, Carpenter even made it. serving every father watching at home and invokes the player to defy shift:
Really, what can’t this guy do?
As Carpenter’s rapid immersion into the Yankees cinematic universe continues, it’s important to remember that his Cardinal tenure essentially spanned the length of the post-Albert Pujols era at St. Louis (and then, of course, Pujols returns to St. Louis just as the Carpenters leave). Carpenter made his MLB debut in 2011 but appeared in only seven games that year and was not in the postseason when St. Louis runs the World Series. He will feature in 50 post-season games with St. Louis, but he doesn’t have a ring to show like other faces from the franchise like Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina, and Pujols.
Now, Carpenter has found a new home in a team with as good a chance as helping him finally land that elusive World Series ring.
Indeed, it is difficult to project whether Carpenter will be able to maintain his position throughout the season. While a number of factors have opened up his sizable playing time recently, it’s unclear how many regular strokes he will have.
Then again, Carpenter doesn’t seem to care much about playtime. He just wanted to be a small part of this Yankees season and help out in any way he could.
And will he manage to stick around until October and continue to contribute to a team with World Series aspirations? That would be awesome.
But even if this summer’s record was just a fun glitch in the historic season leading up to the championship, Carpenter and his moustache will be honored for years as one of the great cult heroes in recent Yankees history.
Jordan Shusterman is half of @CespedesBBQ and a baseball writer for FOX Sports. He lives in DC but is a huge Seattle Mariners fan and loves watching KBO, which means he doesn’t get much sleep. You can follow him on Twitter @j_shusterman_.
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New York Yankees just got better with Matt Carpenter’s rejuvenation
Source link New York Yankees just got better with Matt Carpenter’s rejuvenation