Chris Carpenter had an interesting career.
The Blue Jays picked him in the 1st round of the 1993 draft, with the 15th overall pick, out of Trinity High School in Manchester, NH. Alex Rodriguez was the number one pick that year. The Jays had 4 first round picks, the other three (Matt Farner, Jeremy Lee and Mark Lukasiewicz) didn't amount to much.
He made it to the Jays in 1997 and pitched for us for 6 seasons, going 49-50 with a 4.83 ERA in 152 games, 135 starts.
In 2002, which turned out to be his last season with the Jays, he was our opening day starter in 2002, but that was about the end of the good news for him that season. After that first start, he went on the DL, then came off to make a start on April 21st, and went back on the DL. Chris then had a run of 11 starts from the end of June to mid-August. In August he went on the DL one more time and had to have major shoulder surgery to repair a labrum tear. In total, he made 13 starts, went 4-5 with a 5.28 ERA in 73.1 innings.
As he was going to miss the entire 2003 season, the Jays decided to only offer him a minor league contract. It was an understandable decision on the part of the Blue Jays, Chris hadn't lived up to his ‘top prospect' status yet and there was no way of knowing if he would come back strong after surgery. Labrum surgery is still an iffy thing for a pitcher. The Jays took the opposite approach with Dustin McGowan, maybe learning from Carpenter's example.
The Cardinals decided to offer him a major league contract.
It worked out for the Cardinals. He pitched 3 full good seasons, winning the Cy Young, finishing third in voting another year and making the All-Star team twice. Then he missed most of 2007 and 2008 after Tommy John surgery. In total Chris won 95 games for them and helped them win 2 World Series. He won 2 games in their series win over Texas, to get win the World Series, in 2011. He, again, missed most of 2012, but pitched in the playoffs, unfortunately he lost two games in their World Series loss to the Rangers.
Course, the Cardinals can blame themselves, he pitched 241.2 innings in 2005 and 221.2 innings in 2006.
In total Chris was 144-94, with a 3.76 ERA.
Without the injuries, well, you never know. He would have been a Blue Jay for longer, and maybe he wouldn’t have become the pitcher he was with the Cards. But, without the injuries, he would have had 4 more seasons, which would have helped him build up the bulk numbers Hall voters like.
You can see his career numbers here.
Similar Players: Dean Chance, Mike Garcia, Jon Matlock, Don Newcombe, Howie Pollet (Tom’s note: who?, the other 4 I know, Pollet I’ve never heard of).
Would you vote Chris Carpenter into the Baseball Hall of Fame?
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