Matt Carpenter has signed a $52 million extension with the Cardinals. If Carpenter comes close to his 2013 numbers -- he led the National League in hits (199), runs (126) and doubles (55) -- it's going to be a bargain contract for the Cardinals.
Carpenter hit .318, played a solid second base (he'll move back to third base in 2014), made the All-Star team and finished fourth in the MVP voting. Not bad for a former 13th-round pick in his first year as a full-time starter.
What will happen this season? The projection systems don't forecast Carpenter hitting .318 again, which isn't too surprising since he never hit .318 in the minors (let alone bash out 55 doubles). ZiPS is very pessimistic, predicting a .272 average for Carpenter. Steamer has him at .284. Carpenter hit .321 in the first half, .313 in the second half and his rate of doubles actually went up, so he was pretty consistent throughout the season (though he did drop from nine home runs to two).
Do you believe in Carpenter having another big season? Let's set the over/under on his batting average at .295.