Q&A with Pop Warner on Matt Adams

The Springfield Cardinals manager discusses The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com 2011 Player of the Year.

I recently spoke with the most successful manager of the Double-A Springfield Cardinals, Ron "Pop" Warner, about Matt Adams. The Cardinals organization's top first base prospect was named The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com 2011 Minor League Position Player of the Year.

This article includes additional comments from Warner not included in the main article, exclusively for The Cardinal Nation subscribers.

Brian Walton: What was behind Adams' late-season dip in results and should we be concerned?

Pop Warner: He was hitting .340 with a month and a half left in the season and he ended up at .300 so there was a pretty significant drop off. All in all, he had a great year but I think he was pressing a bit and they weren't giving him any fastballs to hit. He just saw a lot of soft stuff. He just got pitched very tough. He was the one guy in the lineup that they said, ‘We're not going to let him beat us.'

BW: Where do you see Adams defensively?

PW: Defensively, he was more than average. That is for sure. Defensively, he is absolutely ready for the next level. I was really impressed with him. They did a very good job with him. I was expecting, with him coming from the Midwest League, that he would be a little raw, rough around the edges defensively, but they did a heck of a job with him in 2010 in the Midwest League. All I basically did was maintain him. He told me he had a routine and we came out early every once in a while when he wanted to and did his stuff and I didn't have to do much except maintain what he did the prior year.

BW: Do you think he could handle the outfield? In this organization, it may be necessary, right?

PW: He might play in the outfield in the future. It all depends on how the negotiation comes out later this year (Albert Pujols' contract). I have been asked about it and I said, ‘I think he can play out there.' He is nimble enough and agile enough for a bigger guy to run around and catch fly balls.

BW: I have noticed Adams is struggling against left-handed pitching in Arizona. Did you see that this summer as well?

PW: Hitting against left-handed pitching is something he is going to have to improve on for sure. Like anyone, lefty-lefty is a tough thing to do in this game for some reason. Righties can usually handle righties somewhat decently, but the lefty-lefty matchup is the tough thing.

BW: How much of it was perhaps being a bit overanxious?

PW: The one thing he does that I like is that he reacts well to left-handed pitching. He doesn't come off the ball. I think he just chases too much. He gets out of his approach and tries to do too much. He is going to have to learn to take what they give you. You are not going to be able to hit everything. Just wait until you get something you can drive and be ready to hit it.

BW: You've been in the Arizona Fall League three times - once as a coach and twice as a manager. How do you think that environment will be for Adams?

PW: It will be good for him in the Arizona Fall League. We also had really good pitching in the Texas League this year so he shouldn't be too far removed from what he saw this year. It was really a tight spot in the league this year with the pitching all around so he should be ok down there. It has been a long season, though.

(Adams is currently tied for fourth in the AFL with 18 RBI and was named to the league's Rising Stars Showcase, to be played on Saturday, November 5.)

Note: Link to article with links to all articles about previous award winners across the system club by club, schedule for upcoming announcements as well as 2011 team recaps, much of it exclusively for The Cardinal Nation subscribers. Not yet a subscriber? Join now!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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