Matt Carpenter ready for Thursdays NLDS opener

One might think the lone disappointment for Matt Carpenter in his breakout season was falling one hit shy of 200.

Except the St. Louis Cardinals leadoff man isn't that big on statistics, and he didn't even notice he was in range until the last few days.

There have been so many other accomplishments, too.

The 27-year-old Carpenter came to spring training needing to learn a new position so he'd fit in the lineup.

He enters the postseason as perhaps the best leadoff man in the game, a second baseman who'll never hurt you on defense and an MVP candidate.

Carpenter was a full-time starter for the first time, then a first-time All-star, and never let up.

He led the majors in hits, runs, doubles and multihit games.

He had 55 doubles, breaking Stan Musial's franchise record of 53 by a left-handed hitter.