Feb. 15: Q of the Day
Matt Adams hit .231 against left-handed pitchers last season. To protect themselves in case Adams continues to struggle against lefties, will the Cardinals have Allen Craig get some work at first base and Jon Jay get some work in right field during spring training?
— Stephen S., Tulsa, Okla.
Certainly, Adams’ production against left-handers will play a big role in determining whether he can be an everyday player in the Majors for the long-term. He knows that, too, which is why Adams prioritized hitting off lefties (or pitching machines that delivered pitches as such) over the winter. He hopes that work can be a difference factor.
I hesitate to read too much into Adams’ numbers against lefties in 2013, mostly because the sample size is small. Until Craig’s September injury, the Cardinals were not starting Adams against southpaws. He would see left-handers periodically as a pinch-hitter, but not often enough to have a chance at developing much of a rhythm against them. Seeing them with more regularity will give Adams a better chance to succeed against lefties.
Of course, the Cardinals do have contingency plans — and one of them would be moving Craig back to first base. If that were to be the case, I would guess it would be Oscar Taveras, not Jay, stepping in to play the outfield.
Because of the possibility for some movement, Craig will not abandon first base altogether this spring, though it is not as if he needs extensive work at the position to stay sharp there. Jay will likely continue to get most of his work in center — there is still playing time up for grabs there — but could see time in the corners, too. Playing either right or left would not be a tough transition for Jay, who played both with the Cardinals before becoming the team’s everyday center fielder.
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