In this week's 2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target article I will be discussing a player who has quietly been one of the best hitters in the second half of the season: Kerry Carpenter.
There’s nothing like an uninspiring team to keep a player off of the fantasy radar. We see this in football, with a talented player like Nico Collins. He is the unquestioned WR1 out in Houston. Yet he gets drafted after guys who don’t even have clear starting roles. This is almost entirely due to the lack of coverage given to bad teams like Houston. This results in almost no fantasy hype.
The same can be applied to fantasy baseball. Talented players on teams like the Yankees or Dodgers will just naturally garner more attention than players on bad teams. This includes the rare standout performer in a place like Oakland. This is exactly the case with our next 2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: Kerry Carpenter.
2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: Kerry Carpenter
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Looking at FantasyPros, Carpenter is only rostered in 55% of leagues. This absolutely perplexes me. On that same list, Carpenter is ranked ninth in VBR (value based ranking). The top eight? You might have heard of them. Julio Rodriguez, Mookie Betts, Ronald Acuna Jr., Bobby Witt, Matt Olson, Jose Altuve, Cody Bellinger, and Kyle Tucker.
Those top eight guys are all perennial all stars and/or MVP candidates. They are all rostered in 99% or more in fantasy leagues, and so are most of the players ranked 10-20 in VBR. So why is it that Kerry Carpenter is only rostered in 55% of leagues?
It certainly isn’t because of his play. Before hurting his shoulder at the end of April, Carpenter was a decent enough player. He wasn’t getting on base enough, but his high slugging percentage kept him around a league average OPS. He was hitting the ball hard, but a high strikeout rate and low BABIP yielded inconsistent results.
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The Breakout Player of the Second Half?
Carpenter really stepped up his game after returning from injury in June. In this time frame, he is hitting .313 with 16 homers in 68 games. This puts him on a 150 game pace of 36 homers with a high average.
Despite already putting up solid numbers in June and July, Carpenter took his game to a whole new level in August. Among players with at least 50 at bats over the last 30 days, Carpenter is eighth in average (.363), ninth in OBP (.431), third in homers (nine), fourth in slugging (.703), and fifth in OPS (1.135).
The three players continuously above him in these stats are Mookie Betts, Julio Rodriguez, and Matt Olson. However, the difference between Carpenter and those three players is that Carpenter won’t cost you too much to trade for, if anything at all.
As always, I like to take a look at the baseball savant page of our featured player to get a better sense of how he is putting up great numbers. Carpenter is in the 72nd percentile or better for every hitting percentile ranking. This includes the expected stats, exit velocity stats, and weighted stats.
Carpenter is able to do the amount of damage that he has done by simply barreling up baseballs. He averages 7.6 barrels/PA, which is nearly double the league average. Carpenter’s launch angle is typically about 1.5-2 degrees higher than the league average, which helps these hard hit balls to find homes in gaps or over the fence.
What will it take to trade for Carpenter?
I usually involve a blurb about what you can expect a return price to be for a player. However, as I’ve already mentioned, Kerry Carpenter’s production has not earned him a spot in about half of the fantasy leagues across all platforms. This shouldn’t last long, as Carpenter is due to recieve some recognition for his performance. Pick him up on waivers while you can.
If Kerry Carpenter was on a playoff team in a large market, he would rightfully be talked about as one of the breakout performers of the second half. While it’s just bad luck to end up on a depressing Tigers squad. This lack of national hype leads Kerry Carpenter to be our next 2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target.