With his offensive prowess over the last couple of months, Matt Carpenter has not only helped elevate the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card chase, but he’s also moved into the conversation for National League Most Valuable Player.
And while leading the NL in home runs (31), slugging (.598), OPS (.991), and being near the top in several other offensive categories, the biggest argument against Matt Carpenter is his slow start to the season.
As much as his rise from a .140 batting average in the middle of May to his current rank amongst the best in the league is being heralded, detractors are pointing out that his first month and a half of the season was one of the worst.
The argument, which seems to be particularly loud a few hundred miles north of St. Louis, continues that an MVP should provide consistent production over the course of the season. Not just for a couple of months.
For instance, the way Colorado’s Nolan Arenado or Chicago’s Javier Baez has produced.
No question, both Arenado and Baez are legit MVP candidates this season. And you could add Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman to the mix as well.
But before excluding Carpenter from the conversation, consider this…
As bad as the start of the season was for Carpenter, he has failed to reach base safely in a game only 18 times this year.
By comparison, Freeman is best amongst the group with only 12 games and Arenado has reached base safely in all but 15 games.
However, Javier Baez has 35 games this season in which he failed to get on base.
Keep that in mind the next time “consistency” is brought into the MVP discussion.
photo credit: Jasen Vinlove, Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports