If Matt Carpenter’s season is over after he fractured his foot on Monday in Seattle, he no less than joined some elite company. His shocking resurgence at age 36 has put his name alongside a few of the perfect hitters in franchise history.
In 47 games and 154 plate appearances this season, Carpenter, an outfielder and designated hitter, has hit .305 with 15 home runs and 37 runs batted in. He has a 1.138 on-base plus slugging percentage, which leads all Yankees hitters, including Aaron Judge, and puts Carpenter into some truly special territory. The one previous Yankees batters to complete a season with an O.P.S. higher than 1.100 in 150 or more plate appearances? Babe Ruth (12 times), Lou Gehrig (7), Mickey Mantle (3) and Joe DiMaggio.
While those Hall of Famers had much more playing time — as has Judge — it still serves for instance just how well Carpenter has hit in his short time with the team since signing as a free agent in May.
“I even have little question in my mind that he’s going to still make an impact on this team even while he’s hurt,” Carpenter’s teammate Jameson Taillon told reporters after throwing seven solid innings in Monday’s 9-4 win over the Mariners. “He’s are available in here immediately and made an impact on loads of people.”
Taillon added: “He’s not afraid to speak pitching with the pitchers. He’s not afraid to provide honest feedback. He’s probably the greatest guys that I’ve been around and played with, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds his way back and makes an impact.”
Carpenter’s injury occurred in the primary inning of Monday’s game when he fouled a slider from Logan Gilbert directly into his left foot. He was visited by a trainer and struck out on the subsequent pitch, limping back to the dugout in obvious pain. Tim Locastro replaced him within the lineup.
Carpenter was in a walking boot after the sport and told reporters that he had not yet been given a timetable for a possible return.
“My mind-set is that this won’t be the tip for me here this yr,” he said. “I’m hopeful that I can come back and contribute.”
Carpenter, a 12-year veteran who was an All-Star thrice in his time with the St. Louis Cardinals, has hit as many as 36 home runs in a season, but his production had fallen off dramatically lately because of this of injuries. Over his last three seasons in St. Louis, he batted .203 with a .671 O.P.S.
After Carpenter turned in a subpar 2021 season, the Cardinals declined to select up his $18.5 million club option for 2022, paying him a $2 million buyout as a substitute. He signed with the Texas Rangers in spring training and was assigned to Class AAA Round Rock, where he hit .275 in 21 games. The Rangers then released him on May 19, in a mutual decision with Carpenter, due to his lack of opportunity to hitch the large league club.
Every week later, he signed with the Yankees to little fanfare and modest expectations.
“He’s someone who’s been on our radar the last couple of months,” Manager Aaron Boone told reporters on the time. “We’ve been eyeing him for some time as a left-handed bat off the bench. Just an expert guy from the left side, and we feel he may help us.”
Carpenter ended up being rather a lot greater than a left-handed bat off the bench. Whether his dream season is completed will likely be an enormous query. The Yankees still have the perfect record within the American League, at 71-39, however the Houston Astros have erased what was once a pretty big gap between the teams.