Be Patient With Matt Adams

By Craig Phelps

St. Louis, Mo – The Cardinals newly appointed young slugging savior of St. Louis has been making a dramatic impact since his arrival in the Gateway City.  Matt Adams has taken Arch dwellers by storm with his .351 average, .400 on-base percentage, five doubles and as many RBI’s, and home-run in just ten games.  He’s already drawing comparisons to “he that shall not be named,” a certain former Cardinal’s first baseman and the Red Bird faithful are in panic mode over the 23 year old power hitter because he does not yet have a proper nickname.

There is one little issue with Matt Adams receiving an alternative title just 40 at-bats into his Major League career; he will be making a trip back to the minor leagues before seasons end.

Now, this is not to say that Mr. Adams will not be participating in a late season run and/or Fall Classic activities, it’s more of a statement towards the benefits of giving the Pennsylvania native more seasoning.

Adams has been dominant at every level of professional ball, hitting .300 or above in everything from rookie ball to Triple-A.  He has 73 home-runs in 336 minor league games, which is a home-run in 21.7 percent of his minor league appearances.  Adams also has 268 RBI’s in the same amount of games, or 79.8 percent.

Combine this with his early dominance in the ten games he’s participated in at the Major League level and Adams certainly appears ready for the big leagues, and, in most organizations, he would be.

The sole problem revolves around the Cardinal’s primary problematic issue this season; injuries.

Out of the seven Red Birds on the disabled list, five of them are position players.  Lance Berkman, Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig, and Jon Jay are all on the dreaded DL.  When the Puma comes back he will fill the role at first base.  David Freese, although facing wrist issues at this current time, has third base locked down.  Allen Craig and Jon Jay are, obviously, outfielders with Craig having the capability of playing multiple infield positions.

This creates an interesting conundrum for Cardinals managers Mike Matheny and general managers John Mozeliak; what to do with Matt Adams?

If left to play at the Major League level once the aforementioned players are healthy, Adams will find himself riding the pine with little to no room to grow.  His swing would be limited to the occasional start and pinch hit experience, nothing more.

While Adams would make for a fantastic bat of the bench, and Matheny does a rather remarkable job at spreading playing time among his active players, this would not be the situation for the seasoning that a young player requires.

Instead of giving Adams about six at-bats a series, one start and a couple of pinch hit experiences, this young lefty bat could work on his swing on a more consistent basis as an everyday player for the Memphis Redbirds.  He would be able to receive over double the at-bats in a given series in this scenario.

After only playing 37 games in Triple-A Memphis, Adams was hitting an impeccable .340 with 27 RBI’s, nine homeruns, ten doubles, 20 runs scored.  The numbers tell the story, he is going to be an incredible asset for the Cardinals over his career; he has yet to, after all, hit a rough patch in his minor league career.

How will Adams react when his swing goes astray for the first time?  Will he calmly and diligently work to correct it or will he become a frustrated with himself to the point of no return, a la Khalil Greene?  What type of person is he when the proverbial feces hits the fan?

These questions are best answered in an environment where one has the opportunity for success which is, Triple-A Memphis.

Give him time and patience, followers of the great Cardinal Nation.  Adams will hit a brick wall and he will grow from it.  When the time comes for him to venture back to Memphis realize that player development is, to use a cliché, not a race, it is a marathon.

Matt Adams will dominate at the Major League level.  He will become a househould name.  You will wear his jersey.

Quick Hitters

Gameday Lineup – Furcal (6), Schumaker (9), Holliday (7), Molina (2), Adams (3), Greene (4), Descalso (5), Robinson (8), Lohse (1).  Freese and Beltran will be available off the bench; Freese is listed as day-to-day with soreness in his right wrist.

Molina Batting Clean-up – Yadier Molina has only made 12 starts when batting fourth in his career.  He is hitting .178 with a .255 on base percentage in his career when hitting clean-up.  He’s recorded seven RBI’s, two doubles, has snatched three stolen bases without being caught, and has drawn five walks while only striking out twice while place in the traditionally heavy-hitting swingers spot.  However, Yadi has been nothing short of incredible as of late.  He is hitting .619 in his last five games with 12 RBI’s and three homeruns.

Garcia to Miss Next Start – Jamie Garcia, according to Fox Sports Midwest, was sent back to St. Louis yesterday with elbow discomfort.  Matheny says Garcia will miss his next start; he was penciled in for Friday’s outing against the New York Mets.  Garcia has a 3-3 record with a 3.78 ERA in 10 games this season.  His last start came at home on Saturday, May 26th against the Philadelphia Phillies.  Garcia went six innings while allowing four earned runs in the loss.

Jay’s Shoulder Still a Question – The Cardinals skipper also told our friends at Fox Sports Midwest that Jon Jay is expected to get a second opinion on his shoulder in Florida today.  Jay, who went on the 15-day DL on May 15th with a sprained right shoulder, was hitting .343 with eight RBI’s, two homeruns, and four stolen bases prior to going down.

Greene a Threat at Plate – With the rather intriguing line-up released by Cardinal’s manager Mike Matheny today, I decided to dive into everybody’s favorite whipping boy these days, Tyler Greene.  While he has shown an increased level of comfort over the past few weeks, Greene is only hitting .143 in his last six games, five starts.  Greene is hitting sixth today for just the second time this year; he went hitless in five plate appearances last time.  For some reason, Greene appears to be at his best in the eight-hole.  He is hitting .279 with a .367 on-base percentage, three homeruns, four doubles, two triples, seven RBI’s, and three stolen bases in 13 games when hitting in front of the pitchers nine spot.  This provides a great turnaround with the top of the lineup soon to arrive.

Game Time Info – The Cardinals look for a series win tonight against the San Diego Padres.  They have outscored their west coast foes 12-7 in the previous two games.  Kyle Lohse (5-1, 2.90 ERA) will be on the hill for the Red Birds while Tim Hudson (3-2, 4.12) starts for the hometown Padres.  Hudson let up seven earned runs in 6.2 innings during his last appearance against the Washington National in a 7-4 loss.  All of these runs came in either the first or seventh inning.  Tonight’s game has a 6:10pm start time and can be found locally on 1120 KMOX and Fox Sports Midwest.

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