The St. Louis Cardinals have one of the most balanced attacks in all of Major League Baseball. Their pitching staff leads in earned-run average, the defense has the fewest errors in baseball and the lineup is ranked fourth of the 30 teams, but every power-producing engine needs a spark plug.
For the Cardinals, that’s Matt Carpenter.
Carpenter began the season as a post-Tony La Russa version of Skip Schumaker. Originally a third baseman, manager Mike Matheny wanted him to move to be the starting second baseman in 2013 in a move similar to 2009 when Schumaker, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, moved from the outfield to second base.
Carpenter has committed four errors through 58 of the team’s first 61 games while playing a combination of second base and third base, but he has quickly become an incredibly valuable asset.
Centerfielder Jon Jay began the season as the leadoff hitter, but he struggled to get his season started at the plate (his batting average was .204 in April). Matheny...