TCN Cards Minors Player of the Year: 2011

Springfield first-baseman Matt Adams selected as The Cardinal Nation/'s top position player in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system.

The St. Louis Cardinals resisted the temptation to promote Matt Adams in 2010, keeping the first baseman with Quad Cities the entire season. He responded with Midwest League-leading 88 RBI, 63 extra-base hits and a .541 slugging percentage. Adams topped all Cardinals minor leaguers in slugging percentage and doubles (41) last year.

The organization skipped Adams over A-Advanced Palm Beach and started the 22-year-old at Double-A coming out of spring training in 2011. In fact, they kept him with Springfield all season and rewarded them with a year even stronger than the one prior.

At the All-Star break, Adams was hitting .354, with 15 home runs and 47 RBI. Not surprisingly, he was a mid-season All-Star and later added post-season honors in the Texas League as well. In the second-half, Adams was as productive, but his average dropped substantially. He hit .261 in the second half, with 17 home runs and 54 RBI.

For the year, Adams set new Springfield team records for home runs and runs batted in. Adams finished 2011 with a .300 average, 32 home runs and 101 RBI. He led the Texas League in RBI, slugging percentage (.566) and home run to at-bat ratio (1/14.47).

Adams became the first player in Springfield Cardinals history to be named the Texas League Player of the Year, a tremendous honor.

Springfield manager Pop Warner wrote Adams into the heart of his lineup all summer long. He explains why his first baseman was so successful.

"It was really impressive, jumping a level, from the Midwest League to the Texas League and he was Player of the Year," noted Warner. "He has a real, efficient swing. Real short, stays on the ball. He's got power with the short stroke. A lot of guys that have power have a bit longer, loopier swings. He is short and compact. He puts the ball in play and can wait a long time."

Warner acknowledged Adams did not have nearly as strong of a second half as he did first. Still, there seems a logical explanation that is not injury or talent-related.

"He kind of fell off there towards the end," the manager explained. "It didn't help losing (Alex) Castellanos (traded to the Dodgers for Rafael Furcal). After that, we didn't really have anyone to hit behind him. We didn't really have any protection for him. I think he pressed a little bit and started forcing the issue a little but too much and they just started getting him out (by pitching) out of the strike zone."

Congratulations to Matt Adams, The Cardinal Nation/ Minor League Position Player of the Year for 2011.

"All and all, an impressive year for the kid," Warner concluded. "He deserves all the credit he is getting."

This is but one more honor in a long list that may continue to grow in the future. Earlier, Adams was named our Springfield Player of the Year, was our top player for Quad Cities in 2010 and our system-wide Rookie Position Player of the Year in 2009.

Recent TCN/ Players of the Year
2010: Matt Carpenter, Springfield
2009: Allen Craig, Memphis
2008: David Freese, Memphis
2007: Colby Rasmus, Springfield

Premium Article Special for The Cardinal Nation subscribers: Read much more from Warner about Adams in this subscriber-only article. In an exclusive question and answer session, the manager discusses Adams' progress offensively and defensively, the areas in which improvement is needed, his future with the glove and much more.

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 Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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