Adam Stern lost his rookie status this April, while completing his mandated time on the Red Sox roster as a Rule 5 draftee. His unique circumstances, plus a popular sentiment to include him on this list, have allowed Stern to make another appearance as the #35 prospect. After nearly hitting for the cycle in the World Baseball Classic against Team USA on March 8th, Stern looked like he was going to be a contributor on a team that figured to compete for the AL East crown. Unfortunately, Stern struggled after a demotion to Pawtucket, resulting in a season nearly as disappointing as that of the Red Sox.
DOB: 2/12/80 Height: 5-11 Weight: 180 B/T: L/R
Adam Stern's age 26 season:
Stern's one overwhelming tool is his blazing speed. In fact, he was once clocked at 4.09 seconds to first base. Stern has worked hard to become a more efficient base stealer as he's moved up through the minors, though he is occasionally guilty of miscues on the basepaths. < p>
This past season, Stern's strikeout rate spiked as the season wore on. Some scouts felt he was pressing to get back to the major leagues and opened up his swing in an attempt to add power. Left-handed pitchers also had their way with Stern, limiting him to a .634 OPS in 129 at bats. At 26 years old and with a history of struggling against lefties, Stern is likely to be limited to a platoon role in the future.
Moving forward, Stern has a good chance of reclaiming his past success. Despite this, he doesn't profile offensively as an every day player. His walk rate took a step backwards in 2006 but many International League observers feel it will improve as he grows more comfortable with his new home team.
Adam Stern can capably play all three outfield positions. He's been moved around quite a bit, but he has excellent range in centerfield and more than enough arm for right field. Stern doesn't always get great jumps on balls, but his speed allows him to make up for it. Despite it being the easiest position to play, Stern has problems reading flyballs in left field in particular.
Stern has an outside chance of making the Orioles out of spring training, but will most likely move around the outfield in Norfolk. His bat may keep him out of the lineup on a daily basis, but his excellent defense and speed make him a valuable bench player. On most teams, Stern's left-handedness would be considered useful, but the Orioles continue to struggle to acquire right-handed reserves.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com