MLB Barometer: Surprise, Surprise
MLB Barometer: Surprise, Surprise

This article is part of our MLB Barometer series.

I thought he was done.

As April turned into May, Matt Carpenter's month-long slump to begin the season, paired with a recent history of back and shoulder problems made me believe that he wasn't going to become the old, boring, bounce-back candidate I had expected him to be during draft season.

I've never been victory lap guy, but I'm ready to take the L when I'm wrong.

Carpenter's patient eye at the plate and long track record of a 20-homer floor despite nagging injuries suggested that he might be a cheap source of 30-homer pop if he could shake the injury bug as part of an improved St. Louis lineup in 2018. Through 25 games, he's hit .155/.305/.274, with two homers and 10 RBI along with a career-high 24.8% K%. With that, he's also carried an average exit velocity (88.57 mph) below the league average mark (89.11 mph). After receiving just one break from the starting lineup over the Cards' first 22 games, Carpenter sat twice in the span of five games (both times against a lefty) last week. The usage doesn't hint at the possibility of a lingering injury, but nearly all of the underlying metrics suggest that something is very wrong. The most dangerous thing about waiting for a player potentially injured player with a proven track record to return to form is the risk of getting stuck with an Old Maid card and missing out on significantly better production from a critical lineup spot along the

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Derek VanRiper
Derek is the Director of Media for RotoWire.com, where he's been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Football Article on the Web (2009) and Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) awards. Derek also co-hosts RotoWire's shows on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210).
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