March 9: Q of the Day
You have watched Matt Adams this Spring Training — are most of his at bats against Major League players or Triple-A players? Is there any chance that Adams makes the team this year? If so, would Lance Berkman be back in the outfield?
— Valerie S., Flagstaff, Ariz.
Adams has seen plenty of Major League pitching since he has been in the starting lineup in three of the team’s first four games. He started games pitched by Florida’s Josh Johnson, Washington’s Jordan Zimmerman and Boston’s Josh Beckett. He recorded singles off Johnson and Nationals’ Drew Storen (who had 43 saves for Washington last year). His triple on Thursday came off a pitcher (Jesse Carlson) with 162 Major League appearance, and his single on Wednesday came off a pitcher (Matt Purke) who was a highly-touted college pitcher.
So, no, this isn’t a case where Adams has been doing his damage against unknowns. Keep in mind, too, that at this time in spring, pitchers are usually ahead of hitters, who take longer to get their timing right.
Adams is most likely destined for Triple-A Memphis, where he would slide into the lineup as the team’s starting first baseman. That’s not to say, though, that he has no chance of pushing his way onto the big league club. The debate with Adams is this — Would having him serve as a bench player in the Majors stunt his growth? In other words, would it be better served for Adams to continue his development by playing every day in Triple-A?
There’s no question that the Cardinals are set up to lack power on their bench, especially for as long as Allen Craig is sidelined. Adams would provide that pop. But he also would get very little opportunity to play regularly, since Berkman is set as the Cardinals’ first baseman. Because of this, the most likely scenario — regardless of how terrific a spring Adams has — is that he will begin the year in the Minors.
As for Berkman returning to the outfield, that will not happen — unless injury issues arise with any more of the team’s outfielders. When Craig’s rehab work is complete, the Cardinals will already have four outfielders — Craig, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Jon Jay — to fill those three spots. Berkman is not re-entering that mix.
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