Forget about Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton: the real Yankees slugger is Matt Carpenter.
That’s only a mild hyperbole given the tear Carpenter is on to begin his career in pinstripes. The former Cardinal agreed to a minor-league deal with the Rangers this offseason but was released in May without receiving a big-league call-up. After signing with the Yankees on May 26, he debuted later that day and hasn’t stopped raking since.
During Sunday’s 18–4 win over the Cubs, Carpenter was the star of the show. The third baseman went 3-for-4 with two home runs, a double and seven RBI as part of a Yankees onslaught. His two-homer effort gives him six in 10 games with the team, making him the first player in franchise history to accomplish that feat.
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So far, Carpenter is 8-for-24 with six home runs and a double to start his Yankees career, reaching base 14 times in 30 plate appearances. He has a ludicrous 1.083 slugging percentage, which is what happens when 25% of your at-bats result in home runs.
It’s been a fun return to form for the now-mustachioed 36-year-old, who was once upon a time one of the most consistent hitters in the game. During his prime years in St. Louis from 2013 to ’18, Carpenter made three All-Star teams and had an OPS+ of 131. He fell off his usual pace in 2019 and completely bottomed out in ’20 and ’21, leading the Cardinals to decline their team option on him for this season.
The Yankees have been baseball’s best team to this point, so they hardly need another star turn from a previously under-the-radar player. But as long as Carpenter keeps swinging a hot bat, the Bombers will be that much more difficult to contend with.
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