Rosters for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game were announced Sunday, but those aren’t the only players who will ultimately play in the game. Also revealed were the candidates for the All-Star Final Vote — five players from the AL and five from the NL, and the winner of each fan vote will be the final All-Star for each league.
Three-time All-Star infielder Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals is among those in contention — quite a feat considering the way he began the season. Off to the worst start of his seven-year MLB career, he sought guidance from his team’s analytics department early in May. The team told him much of his poor performance was due to poor luck, and they were certain things would turn around if he kept doing the things he was doing.
Sure enough, he’s hit .298 over the past 59 games. He’s third in the NL in doubles (26) and 10th in walk rate (14.4 percent), and he leads his team in home runs (17), on-base percentage (.365), slugging (.513), OPS (.878), total bases (155) and walks (51).
“At this point, I’m just very humbled to be on it,” Carpenter said of his inclusion on the Final Vote ballot. “To even be in the running based on how this year started for me personally, I couldn’t be more thrilled. It could not have started off worse, and I don’t think it could be going any better as of late … I don’t think it would be fair to my hitting coaches if I didn’t give them some sort of credit, too. I really worked hard in the cage with [hitting coach John Mabry] and [assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller] trying to get it ironed out. It’s been quite the turnaround.”
“I think it’s amazing with how he started,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “That just shows you the kind of player he’s been. This is the kind of hitter he is, and we know it.”
Fans can cast their votes until Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. Between now and then, Carpenter said he probably wouldn’t do much campaigning.
“I might send out a tweet to fans. But [campaigning] is not really my style. Whatever happens, I’m just very, very happy to be a part of it,” he said.
Thus far, he has simply re-tweeted the Cardinals, who have temporarily changed their Twitter name to #VoteCarp.
#VoteCarp's last month:
You must go to the polls at https://t.co/C9QXs1x0Zz! (Hashtags don't count) pic.twitter.com/zHuYakOokY
— #VoteCarp (@Cardinals) July 9, 2018
Carpenter realizes he has little control over the outcome — with this vote and with baseball or life.
“The game of baseball I have no control over. The game of life I have no control over. All I have is my faith,” he told The Increase.
Carpenter knows God is in control, as he learned that in college when baseball didn’t go how he planned. But he turned to his faith during those tough times, kept fighting, ultimately was drafted by St. Louis in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, and became an All-Star in 2013, ’14 and ’16, and hopefully ’18.
Jesus has been his foundation through it all.
“If you’re looking for some solid ground or some rock to hold on to, then there’s only one way,” Carpenter said. “That’s through Him.”
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— Former Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter rededicates life to God after being stranded
— A Cardinal’s Perch to Preach – St. Louis Cardinals’ Christian Day at the Ballpark Event
— Rockies’ Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon living for Jesus on way to All-Star Game