No one is going to argue against Matt Carpenter in OBP formats, as he’s long proven capable of an elite walk rate.  He paired that with a power surge in 2018, putting together a monster season and thrusting his name into the MVP discussion.  Can we realistically expect this type of production in 2019 however:

564 At Bats
.257 Batting Average (145 Hits)
36 Home Runs
81 RBI
111 Runs
4 Stolen Bases
.374 On Base Percentage
.522 Slugging Percentage
.291 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The addition of Paul Goldschmidt and the hope that Marcell Ozuna rediscovers his form only help add to the potential appeal.  That said there are two key questions that need to be answered:

  1. Was the power surge for real?
  2. Can he maintain the “decent” average?

When it comes to the power he added 42 doubles and hit the ball extremely hard (49.0%), which would seem to support the surge.  However his 19.1% HR/FB doesn’t match the career production (11.5% career HR/FB) and it was a few big months that buoyed the spike:

  • April – 7.7%
  • May – 15.6%
  • June – 25.0%
  • July – 30.6%
  • August – 25.0%
  • September – 3.8%

Obviously he was able to maintain it for an extended period and that brings some hope, but it’s still hard to fully believe. 

A step back in his power is going to have a negative impact on his average, especially considering the number of balls he put in the air (46.9% fly ball rate) and pull heavy approach (a 48.3% Pull% ranked him 8th in the league).  Those two things combine to help limit his BABIP potential, and that’s going to further cap his average upside.

It’s not to say that he’s not a strong option in OBP formats, and the potential to score 100+ runs is going to keep him solid regardless of the format.  The point is not to pay for last years success, because he’s more likely to come in around .250/25 as opposed to last year’s marks.

Currently his average ADP in NFBC formats is 71.33, putting him in the sixth round of 12-team formats.  While its not outrageous, unless it’s an OBP format that’s still more than we’d want to pay.  Consider him an overdraft and a player to pass on at his current cost (we’d much rather target someone like Matt Olson, who currently has an average ADP of 109.45, a few rounds later).

Sources – Fangraphs, NFBC

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