Thanks for the kind words. I do hope that the three of us down here for the spring rose to the level expected, and also rewarded the investment the paper made by being the only St. Louis outlet to commit the resources to covering spring training in person from start to finish, every day and every game.
We had access to more advanced metrics publicly this spring than ever before, best I can remember. The Cardinals' ballpark was one of a few here outfitted with the Statcast data, so we could see more of what they were talking about with exit velocity, spin, all of it. It's hard to retrofit the past springs with data we don't have from them. We can eyeball. One stands out -- and I had to check the stats to make sure I remembered it correctly -- but Tommy Pham in 2018 had a difficult spring training. He was searching. He was unlucky. He had the same kind of hard-hit hard luck that Carpenter has seen, and some of the comments coming from the Cardinal were familiar.
Pham in spring -- .220/.333/.373, .706 OPS
Pham in March/April -- .341/.453/.511, .964 OPS
His eyesight and the search for contacts that worked were part of the progress and improvement for him. And it's worth noting that he struggled later in the season, so much that Harrison Bader overtook him for playing time and the Cardinals traded Pham.
Carpenter himself has had a spring like this before, though not with one hit. In 2016, he was .167/.216/.292 for a .507 OPS. That lingered into April -- and then he was an All-Star by midseason, batting .340 in one of the months, and finished .271/.380/.505 with a .885 OPS for the season.