TCN 2013 Cards Prospect #23: Adron Chambers

The outfielder stepped forward at Memphis in 2012, but couldn't get traction in St. Louis. Will 2013 be his year? It may be his last chance.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
17 OF 10/8/1986 5-10 185 L L 2007 38th

School: Pensacola Junior College, Florida

Selected 2012 stats

MEM 0.319 0.398 357 60 114 17 3 44 51 80 13 0.366 0.405 0.403 0.809
StL 0.222 0.333 54 4 12 0 0 4 5 18 2 0.255 0.300 0.296 0.596

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (17): The type of yearly OPS progression you love to see in a prospect:

The type of progression in OPS you like to see in a prospect when he gets stuck in Triple-A:

Of course those numbers belong to Adron Chambers and are the main reason I am sold on him as a prospect. Chambers has struggled somewhat in his brief major league time, but even there, his .725 OPS is respectable for a reserve who can play centerfield. Further, he has hit triples at a pace of over 20 per year if he were a full time player.

The negative to Chambers' 2012 minor league season is that his stats were propped up by a high BABIP and he once again failed to take advantage of his speed to up his stolen base totals. However, he certainly did nothing to deserve to fall in the rankings from 2012.

Chambers should compete for a reserve outfield role in the spring but most likely will end up bouncing between Triple-A and the majors for most of the season.

Message board community (25): Chambers slid from 15th on the community list last year to 25th this year. That occurred despite his .405 OBP in Triple-A in 2012!

What does a guy have to do? Field? By all accounts, he is a plus defensive outfielder. Run? He's fast and stole 13 bases for Memphis. Handle lefty pitching as a lefty hitter? His OPS against them was .760 last year (compared to .825 vs. righties). Improve? His Triple-A OBP rose from .368 in 2011. His major league OPS was only .596, but that was for just 54 at-bats.

I'd love to see what he can do on a regular basis. The challenge is finding that opportunity. With Jay as the established center fielder and a lefty bat, and with Matt Carpenter as a lefty pinch-hitter, it will be tough for Chambers to break camp with the major league squad. Shane Robinson seems to make more sense as a centerfield complement to Jon Jay. Oscar Taveras should be in Triple-A this year, presenting another CF alternative, albeit one who many see as a corner outfielder instead.

Chambers is 26 now. I'd expect to see him in Triple-A again as insurance, but as Taveras gets closer, I could see him being on the trading block late this season. - Gagliano

Brian Walton (27): After Sam Freeman, Chambers is the second consecutive player in this countdown who was a late-round selection (38th round in 2007), yet made the majors. Unlike in Freeman's case, I just don't have the confidence that Chambers can stay there.

While it is true that Chambers had a great OBP showing at Memphis in 2012, he isn't going to be able to sustain a BABIP around .400. While still good, his weighted OBA of .366 was not that different from his 2011.

Further, he put up his 2012 results leading off and playing every day, neither of which he would do in St. Louis. Chambers has not yet shown an ability to produce coming off the bench, something not everyone can master, but is absolutely crucial to his future.

Despite having speed, the pop doesn't seem to be coming. I just didn't see the doubles I hoped and expected, plus he continues to not be a great basestealer. The pressure will be even greater this spring with the Cardinals having added free agent Justin Christian, a more accomplished (at Triple-A) right-handed version of what Chambers might become.

My ranking indicates that I am concerned that Chambers will not be able to make that final step for good – at least with the Cardinals. 2013 will almost surely be his final option year, meaning make-or-break time is quickly approaching.

Our 2013 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.

There's more! Monthly and quarterly subscribers who upgrade to our annual pass will receive in the spring the 2013 FOX Sports NEXT Prospects Guide, a $4.95 value, for FREE. The perfect hardcopy companion to "40 Days" includes the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations and much more. We author the Cardinals section of the guide as always.

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