Carpenter not feeling pressure to boost power
JUPITER, Fla. -- Coming off a season in which he was the National League's most productive second baseman, Matt Carpenter now finds himself at a position more often associated with power output. Consider that 19 players connected for at least a dozen home runs as third basemen last season.
Carpenter, however, is coming off a season in which he hit 11. Yet, he remains entirely unconcerned about whether that number ticks higher, regardless of whatever mold a third baseman was once expected to fit.
"That's something that people have always asked about my game, and I definitely think there is some power in my swing that I haven't tapped into yet," Carpenter said. "When and where that shows up, I don't know. But at the end of the day, I'm not going to change who I am and what I do at the plate. If one season, I happen to run into 20 home runs, so be it. But at the end of the day, I'm going to continue to be the same guy and take the same at-bats."
Carpenter did show plenty of power in 2013, but it manifested itself in the form of doubles. He led the Majors with 55 and tallied 73 extra-base hits in total. The Cardinals would welcome a repeat of such production, which came during a season in which Carpenter also topped the NL in hits (199) and runs scored (126).
Carpenter has never hit more than 13 home runs in a season at any level and reached that figure only once -- back in 2010, his final full Minor League season. He had also never tallied more than 31 doubles in a year (also in 2010) until his breakout season in 2013.
"I'm a firm believer that in this game, when you try to do stuff, you're not going to be at your best," Carpenter said. "You have to let it come to you. I'm just going to continue to do what I do. If that turns into 30 doubles and 25 home runs, so be it. But if that continues to be more doubles than homers, that is what it will be. I'm not going to change."