The Yankees may have struck gold signing former All-Star right off his couch

matt carpenter, yankees

Several days ago, New York Yankees infielder Matt Carpenter was sitting on his couch waiting for an opportunity. The 3-time All-Star was released by the St. Louis Cardinals after last season, not making an appearance during the 2022 season after struggling in 2021.

Last year, he posted a .169 average with three homers and 21 RBIs, including a 30.9% strikeout rate and 14.1% walk rate. Clearly, he still had some value getting on base at 30.5%, but his power had completely disappeared after the 2019 season when he smacked 15 homers.

In fact, Carpenter went on a road trip across the country trying to fix his swing, attending multiple performance labs and quality hitting coaches to redesign his approach. Clearly, it has worked to some degree, having already hit a homer over eight plate appearances for the Yankees in just two games.

“I’m extremely motivated to keep playing, and not just keep playing,” Carpenter said, via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. “I don’t want to just fill a roster spot. I really feel like I’ve got more left in the tank to be a productive major-league player.”

Carp hadn’t been hitting the ball hard, but that was all about to change when the Yankees called upon him to help supplement a few losses.

“That was the thing that in the last couple seasons, towards the end of my career in St. Louis, was kind of the missing factor — I just wasn’t hitting the ball hard,” Carpenter said.

The Yankees’ mantra fits Carpenter perfectly:

The Yankees rely on hitting strikes hard, that is their mantra, and he’s doing just that over a small sample size. He hosts a 33.3% hard-hit rate and 33.3% barrel rate, indicating he’s getting some solid contact in the batter’s box.

Of course, none was better than the 384-foot HR he launched to right field in the top of the 4th inning on Friday night.

The former Cardinal went from his couch to the best team in baseball. The Yankees sit 6.5 games above in the AL East and 1.5 games above the Los Angeles Dodgers in all of Major League Baseball.

“Any time you go from your living room to the best team in baseball and to being in this clubhouse with this group of guys — it didn’t take long for me to walk in here and realize that this is a really special group of guys,” Carpenter said. “They got a good thing going. It’s not just talent.”

Carpenter’s usage has predominantly been in the designated hitter role the past few days. Marwin Gonzalez has started at third base. Without DJ LeMahieu healthy, the Yankees have had to make a few changes to the infield. Luckily, haven’t skipped a beat.