Advance Scouting Report

Filed by: Tim Steggall

Player Name: Matt Carpenter

Context: Nine games; 9/20/2013 – 9/29/2013




1st P






















Sample vs. Season:

Lower batting average in the sample compared to the season (.265 to .318), mainly due to low BABIP. Season BABIP is .359; in these nine games, Carpenter’s BABIP was .286. OBP and SLG are nearly equal to his season stats. .71 K/BB ratio in sample compared to 1.36 for the season.



No current injuries. Listed at 6’3, 215. Lean build. Played primarily second base this season but athletic enough to make 24 starts at third. Durable –played in 157 games this season.

Hit Tool

Makes hitting look easy. Very simple, repeatable swing. LHH who starts slightly open with bent knees; load consists of squaring up his feet and a small weight transfer to his back leg; no head movement. Very balanced. Hands start just below back shoulder and don’t move during load. Short, direct bat path with very fast hands; stays in the zone a long time – leads to consistent hard contact. Swing covers the width of the zone. Big league takes – feet never move and tracks the ball into the glove on every pitch; checked swings; doesn’t take any pitches off. Such short bat path and plus bat speed allow him to see the ball very deep and handle every type of pitch. Consistently barrels fastballs. Carpenter sees pitches – very patient and rarely chases. Saw 4.2 pitches per at bat in this sample. Takes nearly every first pitch. Does not need to make two-strike adjustment with his swing, shows the ability to fight off tough pitches. Strikeouts are rare because he is overmatched; strikeouts are more a function of him going deep into counts. More barrels in the bottom half of the zone. Shows the ability to stay on top of pitches away and use the whole field, but primarily wants to pull. Seems geared for fastballs, adjusts breaking ball/offspeed; has no problem with velocity. Shows no consistent weakness. 7 hitter – He consistently puts himself in a position to succeed at the plate.

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

Sees LHP very well, platoon splits are not too drastic. LHP can get in on Carpenter, can move his feet. Pitches out over the plate or not executed will still get hit hard, but a LHP has a slightly larger margin of error than a RHP. Carpenter still shows ability to see ball deep, and see LHP breaking pitches.

Will grind out every pitch of every AB. Has a good take and good look at every pitch thrown. Rarely off balance. Consistently barrels fastballs; takes off-speed out of the zone, fights off located off-speed, hits off-speed mistakes. Very tough out.

Notable At-bats




Fifth inning vs. Gallardo (RHP). Takes first pitch slider for ball one. Takes two fastballs down and away to fall behind 1-2. Spits on a close curveball up and out to make it 2-2. Fouls off slider. Gallardo tries to sneak fastball by him inside after two breaking balls middle away, Carpenter’s hands react and pull a hard double down the line.


Second inning vs. Raley (LHP). Gets ahead 2-0. Takes a fastball in the top of the zone for strike one. On 2-1 stays on top of a fastball middle away and drives it down the left field line. Tries to stretch single into double but is thrown out.


Gap-to-gap power. Not so much over-the-fence power, but consistently hits the ball with authority. With such a short swing and seeing the ball so deep into the zone he sacrifices home run power for consistent contact and consistent barrels; rarely hits the ball in the front zone. Most of his slugging comes in the form of doubles. Can drive the ball to his pull side, and uses his speed to stretch singles. Has enough strength to drive the ball deep into the gaps, but is rarely going to put the ball out in center field, though he does have enough strength to get it over the center fielder’s head. Home runs come when he reacts to pitches in, keeps his hands inside the baseball, and drives the ball to right. 5 raw power that plays way up due to his speed and his ability to consistently barrel baseballs.

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

LHPs have better chance of tying Carpenter up on the inner half, but he will still hit balls that miss. He shows ability to stay on pitches left up and away/out over the plate and can drive them to left center.

Wants to pull RHP. Will pull doubles down the line and into right center field gap. Home run power is on pitches on the inner half he can drop the head on.

Notable At-bats




Third inning vs Peralta (RHP). Takes first pitch ball. Pulls 1-0, 94 mph fastball on inside edge into the right field seats. Shows off his short swing, fast hands, and ability to react and stay inside a fastball on the inside.


Third inning vs. Gio Gonzalez (LHP). Works a very good at bat against a tough LHP and takes advantage/stays on a pitch left up on the outer half. After taking a first pitch slider for a strike, works the count to 3-1 and drives the ball to deep left center for a double off the wall.

Speed/ Baserunning

Consistently 4.1-4.2 to 1B. Fast enough to beat out double plays, but a step or two short of a burner. Uses his speed effectively; looks for the extra base and puts pressure on the defense. Only 3-for-6 on the season in stolen bases.

Conclusions and Means of Attack

No consistent weakness or repeatable way to get him out. Because of his balanced swing and ability to see the ball so deep, he rarely gets caught off balance, and/or rarely reaches. Seems like he can completely reset and refresh his swing and approach after each pitch; completely flushes previous pitches. Can cover all parts of the strike zone. Controls ABs – forces pitchers to adjust to him rather than vice versa. Would not be surprised if teams started employing an infield shift against him in the future, especially when facing a RHP. Leadoff hitter that will wear you down, make you show all your pitches, and set you up for the rest of the Cardinals lineup.

VS. RHP – Challenge him with a located mix away. Will likely take first pitch, make sure it is a strike on the outer half. Most likely not going to hurt you with one pitch, but can and will grind out a long at bat. Set up to finish soft away/hard in under the hands. Know where you can miss with the fastball in – his hands are fast enough to punish velocity on the inner half even with two strikes. Gets on base at nearly a 40 percent clip – challenge him and make him earn it. Will roll over at times on pitches located away. Seems to have trouble with loopy, slow 12-to-6 curveballs. On this pitch, his ability to hit the ball deep almost works against him.

VS. LHP – Slightly more pitchable than against RHP. Not quite as comfortable in the box; can move his feet with pitches in off the plate. Again, velocity in under his hands is good, and a LHP has more room for error on mistakes. Off-speed moving away from him is good. He has the same plus approach, and also has slightly more propensity to stay middle/go oppo. Will still barrel up plenty of baseballs. Need to keep the ball down.

Matchup Stats at a Glance

First Pitch Swing

5/41 = 12 percent

Bunt Threat (Sac, Push, Drag)

Will show drag/push; make him prove he will put it down.

Defensive Positioning

Third base off the line. Infield cheat to pull.


Corners straight up. Center field deep and shade to pull. Must work hard to get the ball in quick.


vs. LHP


vs. RHP


Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
Good call on the "loopy, slow, 12-6 curveball"...the curve is where Morton had some success in game 4. Go get Gerrit Cole, Matt.
Carpenter seems like one of those guys who came out of nowhere. He blew past his 90th percential PECOTA projection, he was never on any top prospects list, yet he lead the league in doubles and has a 7 hit tool. Any explanation for the dissonance between his projections and his actual output?

Related, I'd love to look at the players who most strongly outperformed their PECOTAs and to read any explanation as to why.
I still think there are guys who have trouble in the lower minors because the pitchers aren't good enough to hit their spots. As they move up, the pitchers miss by less, so when they swing where the ball *should* be, it has a better chance of actually being there. They can identify the pitch, and they're thinking about what the pitcher ought to be trying to do, but if the pitch isn't executed, the ball ends up somewhere else.

I think Dan Uggla was one of these guys (a few years back when he could, you know, actually hit).

I'm not sure whether you can spot these guys in the stats, but if a team got better at identifying them in their own system through the instructors and coaches, that might be an advantage to pursue. Maybe they are, and there really aren't all that many guys like this, but what if...
It would be an interesting scouting exercise to try to track these guys against the Mike Fiers, Josh Collmenter, Scott Diamond kind of command-based pitchers in the minors. Maybe guys who hit those pitchers well have more upside than you think.
I think the second spray chart above is missing most of the data points.