When a friend of mine was going
down the line of Johnson City Cardinals at the “Meet the Cardinals” in late
June, she would break the awkward silence at each player by throwing out a brief
one or two-word question. After a
brief glance at Matt Adams, it took her less than a second to say, “First
baseman?” At six foot three inches
and a solid 230 pounds, it was pretty obvious that Matt wasn’t a nimble middle
Adams, a graduate of
School in Philipsburg, PA, came to Johnson City after leading the nation in
batting average for NCAA Division II Slippery Rock University (PA). Adams
played about half his time in college at catcher and was actually drafted as a
junior-eligible catcher by the Cardinals in June. Adams
was a three-time All American at “The Rock”. The table below summarizes the batting
statistics for Adams, a hitter with the best career batting average at Slippery
Adams, a left-handed swinging
gap-to-gap hitter, made an immediate impression in the Appy League. Every year, there is one player that
seems to combine a consistent, smooth, and appealing-looking swing with the
sweet sound of a wooden bat hitting a baseball. Matt Adams was that hitter in Johnson City. He was deadly on pitches from the middle
of the plate and in and was one of the few hitters who hit well in virtually
every kind of situation.
Adams’ first professional home run
in Kingsport, TN.
Adams receives congratulations after
his 1st HR.
Matt Adams: Ready to swing.
Matt Adams: Swing follow-through.
Matt Adams: A rare swing-and-miss.
Adams played 77% of his 1st
professional year at 1B and 23% at DH.
His size will definitely limit his defensive options going forward. He appears to be losing some weight,
which is good. His pictures with
Slippery Rock appear to show a slightly heavier-looking face and his weight in
college was listed as 245 pounds.
Getting a little more athletic with his fielding, base running, and
hitting will likely make him a much more attractive prospect in the future. His fielding was pretty smooth for a big
guy. He showed good foot work and
instincts at 1B. He posted a .986
fielding percentage with six errors.
Adams posted a very impressive
statistical line (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS) at Johnson City in 115 AB
(.365/.406/.574/.980). Adams missed one game in mid-July due to chest pains
suffered during warm-ups prior to the game. A precautionary hospital visit
presumably addressed all the medical concerns since Adams was back in the starting lineup the next night. Adams was promoted to Batavia in early August,
where he continued his good batting performance in the New York-Penn
League. Adams posted an equally
impressive .346/.394/.523/.917 line in 130 AB with Batavia.
2009 Best Rookie
There were several other players
considered for the Rookie of the Year award. The table below summarizes the key
statistics for eight of the Cardinal’s best rookie performers in 2009. The data shown represents the combined
totals for the player at all levels.
The players are ordered from top to bottom by batting average (BA). Each of the eight players had excellent
professional debuts with the Cardinals organization and their future is
Matt Adams: BA (1st), H (1st), HR
Kyle Conley: SLG (1st), OPS (1st), 2B (1st),
of the Year, Two-Time New York-Penn League Player of the Week.
Rich Racobaldo: Johnson City Player of the Year, Appy League
All-Star, One-Time Appy League Player of the Week.
Jonathan Rodriguez: GCL Player of the Year, OBP
Grabiel Hernandez: Age (Youngest), POS (SS), 3B (1st), DSL
Player of the Year, DSL All-Star.
Robert Stock: Appy League All-Star, POS
Alan Ahmady: New York Penn League All-Star.
Matt Carpenter: Levels (Most and Highest), AB
Adams Interview with Dustin Mattison
DM: First off, congratulations on being
named the Scout.com Cardinals Rookie of the Year.
DM: Now that your first season is complete,
can you compare the hitter you were when you first made it to Johnson City to the hitter
you are now?
MA: I believe that just trusting in what I
was taught was a huge factor to hitting from Johnson
City to Batavia.
The hitting instructors (Johnny Rodriguez at Johnson City and Ramon Ortiz
at Batavia) were
DM: What was the biggest adjustment you had
to make as the season progressed?
MA: The biggest adjustment as the season
progressed was just being able to stay healthy and keeping your mental side of
the game strong. Also I had to
continue to work hard and continue to get better day in and day
DM: Was there anything that really surprised
MA: There was not really anything that
DM: I know that you put up big numbers (.495
BA in 184 AB in 2009) during your time in college (Division II Slippery Rock
University in PA). Were you
surprised at all at the numbers (.355 BA in 245 AB) you put up in your
MA: Yeah I was surprised a little bit. The pitching at the professional level
is different than the college level.
Just hard work and keeping my mind strong was what helped me with the
numbers I put up.
DM: What are you working on this
MA: I am working on all aspects of the game;
defense, offense, and speed and agility. Mainly, I am working on losing weight and
getting into better shape for the upcoming season.
DM: What are your goals for
MA: My goal for 2010 is to go into spring
training in shape and have my body in good shape. Also, to work hard in spring training
and get better and make a full season club.
Glossary (Statistical Acronyms
2B is a double.
3B is a triple.
AB is an at bat.
Age is the number of years old the
batter currently is (November 2009).
BA is batting average. The higher the better. A BA of .300 or above is very good.
DH is a designated batter. All teams in the lower minor leagues use
a DH so that the pitchers can concentrate solely on
H is a hit. There are four types of Hs: single, double (2B), triple (3B), home
HR is a home run. The more the better.
OBP is on-base percentage. This is a measure of how well a batter
gets on base. The higher the
better. An OBP of 0.400 or better
is very good. A lead-off batter
should always have a high OBP.
OPS is on-base plus slugging
percentage. An OPS of 0.950 or
better is very good.
POS is position played in the
field: pitcher (P), catcher (C),
first base (1B), second base (2B), shortstop (SS), third base (3B), left field
(LF), center field (CF), right field (RF).
If more than one POS is listed for a fielder, the first one listed was
the primary (most frequently played) position. Only positions that were played more
than 10 games are listed. C and SS
are considered advanced and difficult to play positions. 1B is arguably the easiest position to
R is a run
SLG is slugging percentage. The higher the better. The more extra base hits (2B, 3B, and
HR), the higher the SLG. A SLG of
.550 or better is very good.
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