With the success of Jason Motte, the Cardinals seem to be experimenting with the idea of moving strong-armed catchers from behind the plate and onto the bump. One of those is David Carpenter, who I recently was able to catch up with and ask how the experience has been so far.
So what has been the baseball story of David Carpenter to this point?
I’ve always been throwing a ball or swinging a bat for as long as I can remember. Started playing organized baseball at age 5 and just fell in love with the game. Played high school baseball at East Fairmont and signed early at West Virginia University during the fall of my senior year of high school. Played for 3 years at WVU before being drafted in the 12th round of the ’06 draft. Played my first professional season in State College Pa. After breaking my hamate bone in my left hand during Spring Training the following year I played for the Batavia Muckdogs in 2007. I was invited to Big League camp in 2008 as a catcher. Played for the River Bandits before being promoted to Palm Beach in early May.
What was your initial reaction when the Cardinals approached you about moving to the mound?
I was really disappointed at first with the Cardinals’ decision to make the conversion. I felt that I was making big strides in my hitting and was finally headed in the right direction.
Do you feel that your experience as a catcher helps you as a pitcher, and if so in what ways?
I believe that my experiences as a catcher give me an advantage when I’m out on the mound. I’ve seen the situation from a different angle and have an idea how to attack the hitter since I have been in similar situations in the past. Knowing what pitch to throw during different times of an at bat is a very valuable tool to have, but having the confidence to throw the right pitch is even more important.
What is the most challenging thing about pitching so far?
The most challenging part of pitching has been the down time. After converting from the hardest working position on the field to a position that allows you to have the most down time has been a big adjustment. Not knowing when you might be going into a game is another challenging part of the position change.
What do you enjoy about it the most?
I love the one on one competition. Blowing a guy away with a fastball or breaking off an unhittable curve that he swings over top of is a great feeling. I’ve always enjoyed being a critical part of the game. Being a catcher you try to help your pitcher make the right decision on a pitch or throw a guy out stealing. As a pitcher, you’re the one making the final decision on the pitch and you have complete control over the situation at hand.
How hard do you throw your fastball?
My fastball stayed in the 91-94 range normally but I touched 96 at one point during the season.
Do you miss catching at all?
I do really miss catching. I miss playing everyday and getting to hit. The relationship between a catcher and a pitcher is very important and I liked the fact that a pitcher could depend on me to block a ball in the dirt, throw a guy out at second, or help him decide what pitch to throw in a critical situation.
When you’re not playing baseball, what do you do for fun?
I enjoy spending as much time as possible with my family. I travel around to see some of my teammates during the off-season. I help my dad work on his Camaros and take them to car shows. I also enjoy watching WVU football and basketball games when I’m back home.