Please check out the Projections Primer, to see how I come about getting these projections.
Prior to getting started, I want to take a look at the last three years of Matt Carpenter's career and his total career numbers, showing the statistics that I utilize in my projections (minor league numbers on bottom.
The 2020 season is our most recent sample size and professional sports are often reduced to a "what have you done for me lately" business. Here is his 2020 season (majors only) separated from the rest 1) to highlight it and 2) to more easily come back to it for comparison purposes.
169 PA - .186/.325/.314/.640
6 doubles, 0 triples, 4 homers
22 runs, 24 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS
This year, I plan to incorporate a couple of (I hope) interesting items to go along with the mean (average) projection. I am going to be adding in "THE GOOD" (an everything goes right)" projection and "THE BAD” (an everything went wrong)" projection prior to giving THE CERUTTI (my actual projection). THE GOOD is basically if a player is 10% better in a few of the listed categories while THE BAD is basically if a player is 10% worse in a few of the listed categories - based on THE CERUTTI projection, which is my 50th percentile-type projection that gets made every year by other projection services like STEAMER or ZiPS.
275 PA - .255/.379/.464/.843
14 doubles, 1 triple, 10 homers
41 runs, 34 RBI, 2 SB, 0 CS
This is the kind of resurgence the Cardinals have been looking for - and frankly Matt Carpenter has been looking for - for the last season and a half. Even his August/September in 2019, when he was better than earlier in the year, wasn't this good. If the Cardinals get this out of him this year, he'll earn every plate appearance he gets - so long as he doesn't cross that automatic extension of his contract threshhold.
227 PA - .209/.319/.379/.698
10 doubles, 0 triples, 7 homers
28 runs, 23 RBI, 1 SB, 0 CS
This is more what I expect for Carpenter this year, unfortunately.
(my system projection)
250 PA - .232/.351/.421/.772
12 doubles, 1 triple, 9 homers
34 runs, 28 RBI, 2 SB, 0 CS
As I said above, I believe he'll be pretty close to that THE BAD line. However, if he can hit THE CERUTTI, you gotta think about playing him all 250 of those PA don't you? I don't know what's happened the last couple of years to think he might do this, but I know what happened the first 7 seasons that make you think he could. Here's the promising news, if there is any from this pre-season in which he's, ummm....not getting results...Carpenter's average exit velocity this spring has been 89.6 mph off the bat (of the ones that they caught in the limited places in which Hawkeye has been installed). In 2016-2018, he sat at average EVs of 90.7, 89.7, 90.7. In 2019 he was down to 88 and in 2020 he was down to 88.2. Let's hope this bodes well, but we know what I'm thinking here.
Link back to all of my projections.