Matt “Big City” Adams is a towering force when standing at the plate. He looks bigger than his listed 6'3" 260 lbs. I mean, he had to be born weighing 30 lbs., right? He is one big son of a $%*#!! OK, all jokes aside, Adams is a big guy and he used his big frame to hit 17 HR in only 319 plate appearances during the 2013 season. What could he do if he got 500-600 PA? Looks like 30 HR if I did my math right. Question is, Will he be everyday 1B for the Cardinals, and can he learn to hit off-speed?
Who is Matt Adams?
Matt Adams is another great find for the St. Louis Cardinals organization. (They have a habit of this, right?) Adams turned a good high school career into a Division II scholarship at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, close to where he grew up. Once at Slippery Rock, Adams just mashed. He hit over .400 all three years there, and collected some awards. In 2008, after his sophomore year, he won the MVP of the New England Collegiate Baseball League playing amongst D1 players. He hit .495 in his junior season of 2009, on his way to being named Division II player of the year. All this mashing, and he still fell through the cracks, ending up a 23rd-round draft pick in 2009.
Adams showed the Cardinals they made the right decision by batting .355 his first year, moving up from rookie ball to Low-A. The next season he slugged 22 homers with a .310 average in the Class A Midwest League, and followed that up by hitting .300 with 32 homers in 115 games of Double-A on his way to being named Texas League MVP and Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year. Again, he hit 18 HR in only 67 games at Triple-A before his major league debut. Adams was in the big leagues to stay, and with limited playing time in 2013, he hit .284 while garnering 17 HR, 64 RBI and 46 R in only 319 plate appearances.
Let’s get inside the numbers a bit with Adams. Last year, he had a .337 BABIP, which seems high, but he has only had one sub .300 BABIP year since going pro. There might be a little regression here, but not much. He struck out 25.1% of the time last year, a high number and one he needs to improve. Despite this high percentage, Adams is a patient hitter, swinging at the first pitch only 15.4% of the time. He loves fastballs, hitting 12 of his 17 HR against them, and finishing the season hitting .323 against fastballs. What he doesn’t seem to like is off-speed pitches-- he hit only .217 against off-speed, really struggling with the breaking ball (.187). If he can improve upon these off-speed numbers, Adams can be even more dangerous at the plate.
There will be improvement, as Adams is only 25 and he looks to get significantly more playing time. He is the projected starting 1B for 2014. He could lose some at bats if Oscar Taveras can get healthy and produce, causing Allen Craig to take some playing time away from him at 1B. Either way, Adams hits bombs, like this one, causing pitchers to think twice about trying to sneak a fastball by him. He should try this if he continues to struggle with curve balls again this year.
Where to Draft Him?
His current Average Draft Position (ADP) ranges from 120 (ESPN) to 155 (Yahoo), going anywhere from the 13th to the 21st 1B off the board. I believe this shows that many fantasy players believe in Adams this year, and they would love to have his potential 30-HR 100-RBI bat in their lineups. I think the ADP is right where he should be drafted. If you miss out one of the elite 1B, plug Adams in your lineup and reap the rewards. I don’t think he reaches the 30/100 mark just yet, but given enough at bats, he will come close. He will be a run producer for one of the best teams in the National League.
2014 Fantasy Projections - .274 AVG, 27 HR, 80 RBI, 60 R