School: Slippery Rock, PA
Selected 2009 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (NR): Like Steven Hill and Allen Craig that were drafted before him, Adams appears to have a very usable bat but no position to play. The Cardinals' version of Matt Stairs appears to be entrenched at first base but that position appears to be taken at the Major League level.
The Scout.com/The Cardinal Nation Rookie Hitter of the Year hit .355/.400/.547 at Johnson City and Batavia. The 21-year-old slugged 10 home runs and drove in 52 runs during his two stops.
It is evident that Adams has a very polished bat that is very likely to play as he moves up the ranks. The question of Adams will be his position. If he slims down and appears able to play left, it will open up some options for the Cardinals and Adams.
Message board community (38): Matt Adams was most likely the biggest draft surprise for position players in the Cardinals organization and even in all of baseball. Just 20 years old, Adams wasn't drafted until the 23rd round despite being one of the top college hitters in the country. Whatever thoughts teams had about him not being able to hit at the next level seem to have been put to rest though, as he hit for over a .900 OPS at two different levels putting up an overall line of .355/.400./.547. Adams' great season resulted in him being named The Cardinal Nation Rookie Player of the Year for 2009.
Adams showed a good mix of power and average throughout the year. His BABIP was slightly high for his line drive percentage so a return to a normalized rate there might see his average drop off slightly. His walk rate was not extremely high but Adams also does not strike out much with a 2:1 K to BB ratio - not bad for a power hitter.
Adams' biggest hindrance going forward may be that he plays the same position in the same organization as the best player in baseball. Known for his large frame, a position change for the lefty hitting (throws right) player seems unlikely though he did catch about 50% of the time in college. Adams most likely will start at full season Quad Cities next year (though High-A Palm Beach would be a possibility with a strong spring.)
As a side note, Adams arguably had a better season than last year's #39 prospect and rookie player of the year Curt Smith while a year younger. This could serve as a point of comparison for those who consider that the Cardinals system is weaker than last year. - CariocaCardinal
Brian Walton (32): Here we have the first member of the 2009 draft class to appear in our countdown. As a system, the Cardinals have a number of players that will ultimately be tethered at first base. Certainly Adams is one of them. Yet at 20 years old in short-season ball is not the time to worry about that. No matter how you cut it, Adams had a superb professional debut and so far has to be considered a most positive surprise.
I was perhaps most pleased by Adams' low strikeout rate (one per six at-bats), and use of the entire field rather than always pulling the ball, somewhat uncharacteristic for a power hitter. The #32 ranking affirms that I was the most optimistic of this group about Adams and hope it will be reinforced in 2010 as the former college star moves into full-season ball.
Our 2010 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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