Carpenter needs support for All-Star Final Vote
SAN FRANCISCO -- For two-plus months, Matt Carpenter has dragged himself out from the depths of a wretched slump and back into the ranks of the National League's best hitters. Those efforts have made him a candidate for the NL's Final Vote, Major League Baseball announced Sunday.
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A three-time All-Star, Carpenter will have to emerge from a five-man field to earn another selection. His competition includes Dodgers infielder Player Page for Max Muncy, Jesus Aguilar of the Brewers, Nationals shortstop Trea Turner and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt.
"At this point, I'm just very humbled to be on it," said Carpenter, who celebrated Sunday by clocking a pinch-hit, three-run home run in the Cardinals' 13-8 loss to the Giants. "To even be in the running based on how this year started for me personally, I couldn't be more thrilled. It could not have started off worse, and I don't think it could be going any better as of late."
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It was at the beginning of May that Carpenter, off to the worst start of his career, consulted the Cardinals' analytics department seeking answers. The data they provided showed Carpenter that luck, not his approach, was largely to blame for the month he spent severely underperforming his batted-ball metrics. Club officials encouraged him to stay the course. Since then, he's been one of baseball's most productive players, hitting .298/.390/.606 over a span of 59 games.
"I don't think it would be fair to my hitting coaches if I didn't give them some sort of credit, too," Carpenter said. "I really worked hard in the cage with [hitting coach John Mabry] and [assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller] trying to get it ironed out. It's been quite the turnaround."
In all, Carpenter ranks third in the NL in doubles (26) and 10th in walk rate (14.4 percent). He paces the Cardinals in nearly every major offensive category, while providing defensive flexibility with his ability to play third, second and first base. Carpenter leads St. Louis in fWAR (2.6), home runs (17), on-base percentage (.365), slugging (.513), OPS (.878), total bases (155) and walks (51).
"I think it's amazing with how he started," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That just shows you the kind of player he's been. This is the kind of hitter he is, and we know it."
Fans can cast votes for the final player on each league's roster -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online as part of the 2018 Camping World MLB Final Vote, as well as via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps, until Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT.
Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.
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Carpenter may lobby lightly for himself to be a part of it, but he prefers to leave the campaigning to the Cardinals. St. Louis plans to partner with an American League team with a player on the ballot, as has become common practice in recent years. The AL candidates are Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons, Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario, Yankees right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and Mariners shortstop Jean Segura.
"I might send out a tweet to fans," Carpenter said. "But [campaigning] is not really my style. Whatever happens, I'm just very, very happy to be a part of it."