If you were taking bets for the identity of this year's Colin Porter-Memorial Spring Training Star back in February, Matt Carpenter would have been an easy pick. He fits all the criteria: He's blocked at his position by other players, he's got great AAA numbers, he's a little old to be a prospect. Now he's even got some small-sample-size Spring Training stats! Matt-Carp doubled in two runs (fellow Colin Porter contenders Bryan Anderson and Mark Hamilton) in the St. Louis Cardinals' 4-3 Grapefruit League-opening loss to the Miami Marlins.
Carpenter, who hit .300/.417/.463 last year but is not "The Skyrunner" Matt Carpenter, breaks from the Colin Porter norms in just one way: He's been a really interesting prospect since before he got on a Spring Training hot streak. The Cardinals' glut of left-handed hitters with no power—Daniel Descalso, in particular, would be an obstacle on the bench—make things tough for him in the short term, but he's already proven he can get on base anywhere in the minor leagues.
With Zack Cox in need of more seasoning at AA and Descalso likely to carve out some sort of role at second base, Carpenter has one sure calling this year: If David Freese gets hurt again, he'll be the first guy up. It's not the most exciting job a guy can have in baseball, but it's better than Colin Porter got.