For the fifth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season. Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series. All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis. Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.
This year’s Exit Interview series is “being brought to you by” some of the various Cardinal podcasts that are out there for your listening pleasure. Our focus this time is STL CardGals. Laura and Holly recap most every series and usually bring a very positive approach to whatever is going on with the Birds. Find them on iTunes and check out their website for some totally biased baseball.
Player: Matt Adams
Season stats: 118 games, 327 PA, 37 R, 18 2B, 16 HR, 54 RBI, 25 BB, 81 K, .249/.309/.471, 105 OPS+, 0.7 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 3, Goat 2
Overall grade: B-
Positives: His home run per plate appearance rate was not much shy of his mark in 2013 and the best he’s had since then….in limited playing time (50 PA), held his own against lefties, hitting .283/.300/.522 with three home runs….hit 11 of his 16 homers at Busch….had an OPS of .786 in the first half vs. .770 in the second even though he hit just .218 after the break….had an OPS of 1.062 in May….hit .324 with three homers as a pinch-hitter….had a 1.088 OPS when ahead in the count and an .811 mark when the count was even….hit .250 with four home runs after returning from the DL when rosters expanded in September….had a huge walk-off home run against the Dodgers in the 16th inning.
We’ve seen this before …
— MLB (@MLB) July 23, 2016
Negatives: He struck out once in every four plate appearances….a lot of his damage against lefties was based against relievers, as he hit just .244/.292/.467 against those starters….scuffled in the middle of the season, hitting .204 in June and July….hit better coming off the bench (.264) than as a starter (.246) though the OPS numbers were about the same….hit .220/.307/.390 batting fourth, his second-most regular spot in the lineup….hit .133 with two strikes.
Overview: Adams came in for what I felt was more than his fair share of blame and abuse this season. I know some (like StlCardsCards) are not huge fans of him. I know that he scuffled for large stretches of time. I know that he’s not going to be a Mark McGwire or Paul Goldschmidt at first, much less an Albert Pujols. I get all of that.
All that said, I think Adams was better than folks give him credit for, especially when you factor in that he is just now about to come up for arbitration. He was a source of power and was a better all-around hitter than some think, though it’s still difficult to say whether that would improve with more regular outings or if that’s as good as it gets. For the money especially, this is a good value. I think there’s an argument for him to be the main first baseman next year on the Cardinal infield, though there’s obviously an argument against that as well.
Outlook: Adams’s future is pretty hazy. I mean, for a team that says they want to improve defense, having his glove at first base is a smart idea. However, if Matt Carpenter is going to be the regular first baseman, it may not be a wise play to leave Adams on the bench again, especially if he can be added to a package to fill one of the Cardinals’ bigger needs. As much as I like Adams, I think the roster crunch probably gets him and he’s playing elsewhere in 2017. Whether the Cardinals will be regretting that is a different story.