The last couple of years, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season. This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2014 offseason. More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter. Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.
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Player: Matt Adams
Season stats: 142 games, 563 PA, 55 R, 34 2B, 5 3B, 15 HR, 68 RBI, 26 BB, 114 K, .288/.321/.457 115 OPS+
Hero/Goat: Hero 15, Goat 12
Overall grade: B
Positives: Adams spent much of the year challenging for the batting title before slipping in the latter part of the season….had three huge postseason home runs, two off of left-handers….had an .854 OPS against right-handed pitchers….played some solid to upper-level defense, especially for a big man.
Negatives: Save those October homers, struggled against lefties (.190/.231/.298)….his defense failed him at the worst time, committing two gaffes in Game 4 of the NLCS to allow San Francisco to take the lead….perhaps wore down over his first full season, as he hit just .239 after August 1.
Overview: Big Fill-In-The-Blank had a lot to prove coming into this season. He had to prove that his power wasn’t a fluke and that he could grow as a hitter. He spent much of the early part of the season going the other way at the expense of his power, but all in all checked that box off. He also needed to show he could hold his own against left-handed hitters, but that is still a work in progress, Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner notwithstanding.
Still, it was a joy to watch Adams play this season. The big man was able to tally five triples, mainly by hitting the ball so hard that even he could cruise into third. His leap after his blast off of Kershaw will be replayed often in the minds of Cardinal fans this offseason.
Outlook: While the idea has been floated that the Cards need a right-handed companion for Adams, John Mozeliak said that wouldn’t be a high priority for the club during the winter. Which means that you’ll see Big City (or Big Country or Big Mayo) manning first for the Cards come Opening Day 2015.