St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams somewhat slimmed down over the offseason, which is probably a good thing. He may get even trimmer over the course of the 2014 season, as shortstop Jhonny Peralta makes him bend and stretch for nearly every throw, and that’s not such a good thing.
Adams showed surprising agility and quickness for his size while filling in for the injured Allen Craig last year, but it was clear that he needed to get into better shape for the long grind of a full major league season. He showed off his svelter figure late in the first game of this season, keeping the Cincinnati Reds‘ Brandon Phillips from scoring on a heads-up play. So far so good. He’s also beating the extreme defensive shifts used against him and getting hits to the left side.
Peralta, the Cardinal’s new shortstop, has had his own issues with weight. His PED suspension last year reportedly had to do with weight loss rather than performance enhancing supplements. His range at the position is average at best, but should his size affect his arm? It seems that any but the most routine grounders have Peralta bouncing his throws to first. He has even bounced a double-play throw from second.
It’s early days yet, and maybe Peralta will improve as the season progresses and warms up. If not, Adams is going to be working very hard to pick those throws day in and day out. Craig is an important backup right now, for when those throws get past first and when Adams needs a break from that workout.