TCN 2012 Cards Prospect #17: Adron Chambers

The outfielder gave a late-season shot of energy to the 2011 Cardinals. Where will he begin 2012?

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2011 and career stats)

2011 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
15 OF 10/8/1986 5-10 185 L L 2007 38th

School: Pensacola Junior College, Florida

Selected 2011 stats

MEM 0.277 426 73 118 19 5 10 44 53 90 22 0.368 0.415 0.783
STL 0.375 8 2 3 0 1 0 4 0 1 0 0.375 0.625 1.000

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (19): I have long referred to Adron Chambers as a poor man's Desmond Jennings (a top 20 prospect in baseball last year who also made his major league debut in 2011). Nothing happened in 2011 to change that opinion. Chambers continues to show slightly less power and less base path speed than Jennings, but at the same time continues to show that he has the tools to perform at a similar level.

Chambers did increase his stolen base totals in 2011, indicating that both he and the Cardinals organization realize that his speed is still an untapped resource. One of the things I really liked about Chambers' 2011 season was an increase in power. If that trend continues, he could turn out to be much more than a fourth or fifth outfielder as many have pegged him. Chambers also performed impressively during his brief stint with the big league club, impressing observers with both his defense and his bat.

Chambers' ranking is another testament to the strength of the Cardinals minor league system. Despite doing as much as was probably expected of him in 2011, he actually fell two spots in rankings.

Chambers will go to spring training looking to cash in on the injury to Allen Craig that would appear to leave one outfield spot up for grabs. Even if he fails to capture that spot immediately, I would expect Chambers to see significant time in the majors as he rides the I-55 shuttle between Memphis and St. Louis.

Message board community (15): Chambers was the #15 community prospect, up from #17 last year. The undersized outfielder completed his one-level-per-year climb through the system, posting a Triple-A line of .277/.368/.415, for his third straight season with an OPS in the .770-.785 range.

If there's a ballplayer who fits the "solid extra outfielder" profile better than Chambers, I have yet to see him. Adron hits for okay average, with low/medium pop, and runs well but isn't a good base thief (22 for 35 in 2011). The 2007 38th round pick is also considered a solid defender at all three outfield positions... but not a plus one, since his arm is mediocre.

Could the 25-year-old be a viable MLB starter for a contending team? Perhaps in a year or two, as a centerfielder - but only if he has at least a bit of a breakthrough in terms of power or basestealing. And that development can only take place if Chambers is playing every day in Memphis. - BobReed

Brian Walton (17): I don't see Chambers as a finished project and as such, tend to agree with BobReed that investing more time in Memphis to refine his game would not be a waste. If fact, it may be best.

At this point, I see Chambers' primary differentiators being speed and range in the outfield. As noted, he has not yet become proficient in swiping bags. That would be a major asset coming off the bench in the majors, but as we have seen with Tyler Greene, even a good Triple-A base-stealer can have trouble adjusting at the next level.

Leveraging that speed in the outfield is great. After all, one has to get to the ball first, but I question whether Chambers' arm will be good enough for him to be a regular centerfielder. Without the pop in the bat, which I suspect is not going to develop, Chambers could become yet another smallish contender for a corner spot in a system that is already teeming with similar players.

Our 2012 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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