The New York Yankees may be struggling to win games right now, but that doesn’t erase some of the genius moves general manager Brian Cashman has made this season.
When the Yankees needed left-handed support in the batters box and a solid utility player who can feature at multiple infield spots, they stumbled upon Matt Carpenter, who was playing for the Texas Rangers Triple-A affiliate at the time.
Carpenter was waiting patiently to receive an offer to play at the major-league level, but he was only getting Triple-A opportunities, refusing to stoop to that level.
However, Carpenter was surprised when the best team in baseball came calling for his services. Clearly, the move is paying off in dividends.
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The Yankees made a genius move signing Carpenter:
Carpenter is hitting .352 with a 46.5% on base rate and .873 slugging percentage. He’s jacked 11 homers this year with 24 RBIs, featuring a 25.3% strikeout rate and 12.6% walk rate.
“He’s taking more chances,” said Joey Votto. “I felt like at times [in the past] he was satisfied with a walk or a tough at bat: That was a tough at bat; I saw a lot of pitches. I don’t want to mind-read, but I’m just sharing what I saw as a third party. Whereas now he seems more reckless. Good hitters are reckless.”
Carpenter has been far more aggressive with his style, recording a 46% hard-hit rate and 20% barrel rate. The highest numbers in his entire career. He’s also posting a 25.4° launch angle, indicating he’s getting more lift on the baseball. He’s producing a 60% flyball rate with a 39.3% HR/FB ratio.
When the Yankees originally acquired Carpenter, he was looking to do anything, ranging from fielding batting practice or taking luggage off the team plane. However, he’s found a far more prevalent role as a top contributor.
“Obviously it’s not really a comparable thing, but people who lie on their deathbed wishing they hadn’t taken things for granted—you get a second chance at life,” Carpenter says. “I mean, that’s basically what happened with me and my baseball career. I got a second chance. And every day, the most mundane things that most people get tired of I look forward to, like coming out to the field for BP, taking ground balls.”
Carpenter hasn’t only been helping on offense but also filling multiple defensive positions. This season, he has spent time at first base, third base, left field, and right field.
The most impressive aspect of Carpenter’s season thus far is his adequate sample size. Carpenter has played in 29 games with 87 plate appearances, representing a solid pool of numbers to showcase his production.
Carpenter has a great pull rate, which has contributed towards 11 homers to right field, exposing the short porch in Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees are hoping he can continue to perform at this pace and help them during the postseason when the pressure is on.