Memphis Redbirds 2012 Player of the Year

Outfielder Adron Chambers provided a spark at the top of the Triple-A lineup, logging a .405 OBP.

The 2012 season for the Memphis Redbirds won't be remembered for its offensive prowess. In fact, the Redbirds posted a Pacific Coast League worst .257 batting average and .717 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage). Memphis accumulated 1,901 total bases, which was four behind the Nashville Sounds to finish last in the PCL and an overwhelming 55 behind the next worst team.

Reliever Barret Browning was named to the Triple-A All-Star Game in Buffalo, who was later replaced by starter Brandon Dickson. No Redbirds batter was awarded the opportunity to represent the Redbirds.

However, all wasn't bleak for the Redbirds in the 2012 season. There were a few standout performances - from Matt Adams, Adron Chambers and Eugenio Velez.

Fresh off a season in which he won Texas League Player of the Year honors, Adams started off the year hot by belting 19 extra-base hits in April and May, including nine home runs, before being promoted to St. Louis on May 20th. Adams missed the next month from the ‘Birds lineup before being optioned back to Memphis in late-June.

Adams ripped the cover off the ball upon being returned to the ‘Birds, but his numbers dipped slightly in July and August as he was battling bone spurs in his right elbow. Though his slash line of .278/.328/.537 and .294/.333/.588 in July and August was hardly anything to scoff at, the burly first baseman's season ended prematurely on August 11th as surgery was set to relieve him of his bone spurs.

Had he not missed time due to injury and his promotion, the Pennsylvania native likely would have competed for the Pacific Coast League Player of the Year, vying for his second consecutive player of the year honors in different leagues. Adams finished with a .986 OPS, which would have ranked third in the league, but his missed playing time ultimately cost him the award for The Cardinal Nation/ Player of the Year for the Memphis Redbirds.

Eugenio Velez made this decision a tough one, as he brought seven years of minor league experience and several brief major league appearances to his first season as a Memphis Redbird.

The 30-year old utility player led the team in stolen bases at 37, nearly triple the amount of Adron Chambers, who finished second. Velez's stolen base total was one shy of Adam Eaton as the PCL's best. Velez drove in the second-most runs for the Redbirds (58) and tallied the most total bases (205) playing in the most games and receiving the highest number of at bats.

However, Adron Chambers provided the Redbirds something that many teams lack, which was a pesky spark at the top of the lineup. The speedy outfielder led the Redbirds and got on base at an extremely impressive clip of 40.5% at the top of the lineup, finishing seventh overall in the PCL. Chambers also led the team in batting average at .319 with batters with at least 300 at bats.

Consistency was the key for Chambers in earning The Cardinal Nation/ Memphis Redbirds Player of the Year honors, as it was for Dickson with his Redbirds Starter of the Year title. During every month covering the Redbirds season, the Florida native never batted below .292 with an on-base percentage that never went sub-.370. Though his 13 stolen bases were a third of what Velez brought on the base paths, Chambers reached base more frequently, as he posted an on-base percentage nearly 50 points higher.

Chambers made the ‘Who's Hot' list seven different times in our Memphis Redbirds weekly reports, more than any other player. The center fielder ended his third season in Memphis with his career best batting average and on-base percentage.

Chambers now resides on the bench for the St. Louis Cardinals as an extra outfielder and pinch-runner in their quest for back-to-back World Series Championships and 12th in team history.

A final honorable mention

One last honorable mention came via the bat of Steven Hill, who played his third season in Memphis in 2012. The utility player saw playing time all over the field, as he ripped 17 home runs and drove in 52 runs with a respectable slash line of .266/.326/.488. Though he missed most of April, Hill improved over the next few months and slugged eight home runs and seven doubles in the month of August, good for a .587 slugging percentage.

Link to master article with all 2012 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for the remainder of this series.

© 2012 The Cardinal Nation, and All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Diehard Magazine Top Stories