Matt Carpenter is from the Chase Utley School of Baseball, a dirtdog who just punches the clock day-in and day-out, makes plays wherever his coach asks him to, keeps his head down, and swings the stick as if hitting was built into his DNA. Actually, that’s not that far from the truth. Carpenter, with his father Rick as head coach, won a high school national championship at Elkins High School in Galveston County, TX. Rick, a baseball lifer and 700-win coach, probably had something to do with his son Matt’s picture perfect two-handed rip that led the Bigs in hits in 2013 and turned Clayton Kershaw from a hero to a goat in 2014.
Swagger is not a definable thing so much as a spectrum, and if Jose Reyes sets the standard on the “Flamboyant” end of the Swagger Spectrum, then Matt Carpenter is fixed on the exact opposite end, the “Classic” swagger standard. Carpenter is all business on the field, a link in the chain, but he’s still got a distinctive look that fits his game.