Matt Carpenter played nearly equal amounts at first, second, and third base for the Cardinals this past season, but he’ll be the team’s primary first baseman in 2017, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
While moving to first base full-time will cut into Carpenter’s value — second and third base are deemed more “important” positions in WAR calculations, for example — the Cardinals will likely be better off for it with a permanent home at second base for Kolten Wong, at shortstop for Aledmys Diaz, and at third base for Jhonny Peralta. Jedd Gyorko will get occasional time at both second and third base as well.
Offensively, Carpenter was excellent as always, finishing the 2016 campaign with a .271/.380/.505 triple-slash line along with 21 home runs and 68 RBI in 566 plate appearances. The National League average OPS at first base is .795 compared to .757 at second base and .781 at third base, so Carpenter will have to continue swinging the bat well to stay above-average relative to his peers.