Cardinals: Matt Carpenter Will Start 2017 at First Base

The Cardinals defensive alignment is going to look different in 2017. Matt Carpenter will start the season at first base. How does that affect his value?

The St. Louis Cardinals defense struggled a bit throughout the season. The team recorded 107 errors, sixth-most in the league. As a result, management decided to switch some things around and name Matt Carpenter the starting first baseman next season. How will the move affect his fantasy value?

Carpenter spent the 2016 season playing three-fourths of the infield. He played 38 games at second base, 40 games at first and 54 at third. He will have eligibility at all three positions in ESPN leagues because he played at least 20 games.

Carpenter hit 21 home runs, 68 RBI and .271. The home runs and RBI were the third and second most on the team. He also had a .380 on-base percentage with 108 strikeouts and 81 walks. Carpenter finished No. 113 among hitters on the Player Rater.

The Cardinals infield alignment will be Carpenter at first, Kolten Wong at second, Aledmys Diaz at shortstop and Jhonny Peralta at third with Jedd Gyorko filling in when needed.

Matt Adams looks to be the odd-man out, but he could be traded during the offseason.

The soon-to-be 31-year old will see an increase in value. Instead of moving around the infield, he will have a permanent spot at first base.

This helps the pitching staff by having a consistent defense. It will keep him healthy for the season. He won’t have to move around as much as he did at the other positions.

He played in 154 games last season, 158 in 2014 and 157 in 2013. There is a good chance that he will reach 150 games again. If he does, I think he’ll get back to 25 HR/80 RBI/.275 next season.

The big impact will be in 2018 when Carpenter will lose eligibility at second and third base. He will have to outperform some of the best hitters in the game to be draftable in standard leagues. Luckily, we have another year until that happens.

The announcement to make Carpenter the permanent first baseman is a smart one. It will keep him healthier and increase his games played significantly compared to last season. He is draftable as a leadoff-hitting first baseman in most leagues.