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Sleeper Sleuth: Building a case for Matt Carpenter

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Carpe Diem (USAT)

Around Groundhog Day, Matt Carpenter was an invisible spare part, the type of player you wouldn't think about in a mixed-league draft.

Today, he's a trendy little sleeper. What a difference a month makes.

[Baseball 2013 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

The Cardinals haven't settled on a starter at second base yet; they're allowing Carpenter and Daniel Descalso to battle it out. Carpenter, 27, is an odd fit for the position, given that he's 6-foot-3 and hardly played there last year (five games), but so far, so good. The club has used Carpenter exclusively at second base this spring, looking to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. Manager Mike Matheny and infield coach Jose Oquendo have been encouraged to this point.

Carpenter's bat was useful during 296 at-bats lat year: .294/.365/.463, five homers. He did just fine against left-handed pitching (.784 OPS) and probably wouldn't need a platoon partner (Descalso is a left-handed batter anyway). Early spring returns also look good for Carpenter, as he's off to a 10-for-27 push with four doubles and five walks. Descalso gets points for his versatility, but he didn't hit a lick last year (.227/.303/.324).

Everyone loves a Swiss Army Knife in deeper roto, and that's where Carpenter really starts to look appealing. He's carrying three positions of eligibility in the Yahoo! game as we speak (first base, third base, outfield) and he'll add the second-base bag quickly in April. I've always got room for this type of super-utility player on my bench, how about you?

Although Carpenter's name is found on the Transaction Trends page, he's still currently available in 90 percent of Yahoo! leagues. There's plenty of downside here, of course – this could be the first player you cut in April – but there's also a potential 15-20 homer season with a solid average. Anyone feeling tempted to make a point-and-click?

That concludes our quick foray into the infield today. Now let's catch up with Brandon Funston, helping you stock the outfield.

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