TCN 2013 Cardinals Prospect #7: Matt Adams

The big first baseman missed out on a prime opportunity in 2012. Will he get another chance in 2013? Today's report is FREE!

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

School: Slippery Rock University

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
9 1B 8/31/1988 6-3 245 L R 2009 23rd

Selected 2012 stats

MEM 0.329 0.360 258 41 85 22 18 50 15 57 3 0.415 0.362 0.624 0.986
StL 0.244 0.317 86 8 21 6 2 13 5 24 0 0.292 0.286 0.384 0.669

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (7): Ahhh, the taste of potential. That is what Matt Adams gave us his first few weeks after being called up to the big leagues. Even though he cooled off later, the flavor he left on my palate was so tasty it definitely left me yearning for more. Unfortunately, due to his elbow surgery, I was left wanting and did not get it even when rosters were expanded at the end of the year.

What makes the potential of Matt Adams so flavorful is his enormous power (which comes partly from having an enormous body). I can only hope that it was Adams' elbow problems that caused his drop off from his hot major league start and after his return to the minors and that surgery has corrected those problems.

So I am left not only wanting a taste of more, but also with some concern (the elbow) that the taste will be as good as it was before. One of the nice things about baseball is that you can never have too many tasty dishes. There is no gluttony in baseball!

Adams will compete for a big league job in spring training. Unfortunately for him, his primary position of first base already has a successful incumbent. Fortunately for him, that incumbent (Allen Craig) can also play the outfield, so if Adams excels in the spring, there is still some hope for him to find playing time. If not, he will bide his time as Memphis' first baseman, waiting for an injury or a trade.

Message board community (6): Adams rose from 10th in last year's community ratings to sixth this year.

The guy can mash. At just age 23, he managed a .329/.362/.624 slash line at Memphis. Some of that was aided by hitter-friendly PCL parks, as he posted a 1.109 road OPS to just .845 at home. And he cooled a bit from before the all-star break (1.038) to after (.887). But still, that's awfully good hitting. Consider that in his first Triple-A year, Allen Craig managed just an OPS of .921 at age 24, albeit with a better OBP.

If there are concerns about Adams, it is about plate discipline (the OPS is largely about his power, and he fanned 57 times in his 258 Triple-A at bats), position (he seems limited to first base), and his initial major league performance (an OPS of just .669, albeit in only 86 at bats). The power potential is enough to make him a very interesting prospect.

I would expect Adams to remain in Triple-A this coming year, but available to play first if there is an injury to Matt Holliday or Carlos Beltran (moving Craig to outfield) or to Craig himself. - Gagliano

Brian Walton (8): Though I ranked Adams slightly lower than the others, it is not due to a lack of confidence in him or a belief that he is not ready. It simply got down to a hitter versus pitcher tradeoff.

In part due to his elbow injury last summer, Adams missed out on a golden opportunity to secure major playing time in St. Louis that was created by the ongoing injuries to Lance Berkman. Adams should be ready to go in 2013, however.

As I covered in detail for The Cardinal Nation subscribers last week in my article, "The 2013 St. Louis Cardinals ideal bench,", I believe that the Cardinals strongest major league roster next spring will include Adams. That despite the fact that Adams is tethered to first base defensively.

Adams can play a major role in addressing what I felt became a significant exposure last October – worn out and nicked up corner outfielders Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran. In resting the two 30-something outfielders more often in 2013, Allen Craig can move to the outfield, opening up first base for Adams two or three days per week. The rest of the time, he can be the left-handed power bat off the bench that the 2012 club sorely lacked.

Sure, the path of least resistance might be for Adams to return to Memphis and continue to abuse Pacific Coast League pitching, but if the goal is to have the best 25 MLB-ready players in St. Louis in 2013, I think the 25-year-old should be among them.

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.

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