All-Star hitter interviews: Kipnis, Zobrist

The St. Louis Cardinals are one of baseball's most successful organizations, in part because they think progressively and try new things. Coaxing more defensive versatility from their hitters is one of the more obvious themes, and certainly the fact that Matt Carpenter was chosen as a National League All-Star this season is proof of that. On Monday's media day at New York's Citi Field, I spoke to Carpenter and his teammate Allen Craig about how the organization thinks a bit differently, and how that has not only helped those guys, but fantasy owners as well.

Carpenter was largely an unknown prior to this season. He was hardly a top prospect, even though he was a good minor league hitter with upside. In three minor league seasons, he was primarily a third baseman, and he played mostly at first base, third base and in the outfield for St. Louis last season. But the Cardinals had a need at second base and told Carpenter, 27, late last season to prepare to play there in 2013. Not only do the defensive metrics show a steady player in that sense, but offensively he has been tremendous as a leadoff option, and he's second in all of baseball in runs scored.