St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams has not played a lot this season, with less than 300 plate appearances entering Sunday’s action as predominantly a backup to Allen Craig. But he has moved into the every day lineup with Craig sidelined by a foot injury since early this month, and he is hitting .328 with seven home runs and 14 RBI thus far in September.
Overall this season Adams is hitting .284 with 16 home runs and 50 RBI, putting him firmly on the radar of fantasy baseball owners even with limited playing time. How should fantasy owners view him as 2013 winds down and we look toward 2014?
The main question surrounding Adams is what position he will play going forward, since he has only played first base going back to to the start of his minor league career and Craig has been St. Louis’s primary first baseman this season. But Craig can play both corner outfield spots (41 combined starts this season), and Cardinals’ right fielder Carlos Beltran is not under contract for next season. Add in Beltran’s age (37 next April 24), and the Cardinals seem unlikely to bring him back.
If the Cardinals want to find room for Adams in their every day lineup next year, and they should based on this year’s limited sample, moving him to the outfield could become an option as well. In terms of home run power, he has 82 home runs in 1,442 career minor league at-bats, which breaks down to a home run every 17.6 at-bats. That is fairly close to his home run rate this season in his first extended major league action, with a home run every 16.8 at-bats (268 at-bats), so Adams’ power looks sustainable and he may have additional upside potential at age 25.
Adams’ fantasy value for next year is dependent on the Cardinals’ offseason moves, most notably Beltran and how they would replace him if he is not re-signed. But if there is a path to significant playing time, through a move to the outfield by he or Craig, Adams is sure to be a popular sleeper in NL-only and mixed league drafts next year.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.