If I can keep it up all month, 31 days of positive posts! There's going to be enough negativity going around with the Cardinals not in the post-season.
Matt Carpenter's 2018 was something to get excited about. There were parts of it that absolutely were not, but he ended with 4.9 fWAR and 4.9 bWAR for an average of 4.9 WAR across both spectrum.
That's his best total since 2015 and the third highest of his career, at age 32. He had the best slugging percentage and isolated slugging of his career. He hit his 3rd most doubles and his most homers. He scored the second most runs and drove in the second most RBI of his career while also getting walked the second most times in his career. He also received 46% of his career's intentional walks in this 2018 season.
His doubles total was good for 4th (tied) in the NL, only 2 behind the leader, and his homers total was good for 2nd (tied) in the NL, only 1 behind the leader. Those numbers could change with game 163 being played tonight. He was 3rd in runs and top 25 in RBI hitting leadoff for ~80% of the year.
He didn't attempt steals very often, but was 4 out of 5 in stolen base attempts - a very robust 80% clip. Not only that, but he had his lowest outs on the bases total since 2013, only getting thrown out on the bases 7 times all year. He did that despite taking the extra base more often than he did in 2017 as well.
His fielding was much better than anticipated. By my eye test, I thought all but his throwing arm was above average at third base this season. His throwing arm was below average at best. At first, I thought he made strides around the bag this year, which is where he's at his worst at that position. He still showed good range at first base otherwise. DRS loved Carpenter at third this year (+6 in <1/2 a season's worth of innings), while UZR/150 thought less of him at negative 1.1 runs saved. At first base, both thought he was about average at +1 DRS and +0.1 UZR. Both agreed that he should probably never play second base again...as did both managers eventually.
Lastly, my favorite random stat of this year for him is that he grounded into 0 double plays.
Positive October Day 1 is in the books!