The Cardinals have only played a handful of games so far this spring. But the little bit of time corner infielder Matt Carpenter has spent trying to play second base has been encouraging.
Carpenter has made the plays he could reasonably be expected to make including a very comfortable looking shuffle to his right with a scoop to the shortstop to turn a very clean double play. Of course, the real challenge of second base isn't the 4-6-3, it's the 6-4-3 double play.
We'll sooner or later see if Carpenter can make the pivot without getting run over by the baserunner at second -- and if he'll have anything on the throw when he does.
But I have confidence in the young Cardinals infielder because he looks smooth and athletic around the bag. Plus he has the build of an ideal second baseman with a lanky, lean frame not unlike that of one of the best second sackers in St. Louis history, Red Schoendienst.
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I was uninspired by Skip Schumaker's play at second over the last four years. It wasn't because he didn't put in the effort. But I have said many times before that I thought it was unfair to try to turn an outfielder into an infielder at the major league level. It's a much easier move for Carpenter because he's used to seeing ground balls come at him quickly. He just needs to work on his range, his positioning and his balance to become a decent defensive second baseman.
And if he could do that, his bat will be an exciting addition to the St. Louis offense. He's a guy who can hit the ball in the gaps for extra bases and he seems to have a knack for getting on base with a .359 on base percentage for his career of a little over a year of play.