While he's toiled in relative anonymity thanks to the emergence of flashier prospects like Oscar Tavares and Shelby Miller, a post on mlb.com urges Cardinals fans not to forget about Matt Adams.
According to the website, Adams ranks as the second-best first base prospect in the majors behind only Jonathan Singleton of the Astros organization. He's noted to be a mediocre fielder -- but a threatening power bat who will stick in the majors because of his ability to produce runs.
Although such a move might have been derailed due to relatively minor elbow problems that ended Adams' 2012 season prematurely, I'm surprised that Adams hasn't been used as a trade chip by the Cardinals to help fill the club's need for a long term solution at shortstop.
Young slugger Allen Craig seems to have a lock on first base for the foreseeable future. And Tavares is expected to take over in right field for Carlos Beltran at the end of the upcoming season. So, barring a significant injury to Craig, Tavares or left fielder Matt Holliday, there doesn't seem to be any room at the inn for Adams.
It's great to have the luxury of a power hitting insurance policy in Class AAA. But Adams is going to be 25 this season. No one wants to seem him waste away in the minors. And, if there is a place for him on a Cardinals bench, it needs to be a spot where he gets enough at bats that his development doesn't plateau.
Basically, we know Tony Cruz or another reserve catcher will be on the bench and that Ty Wigginton and either Matt Carpenter or Daniel Descalso -- depending on which one of the pair isn't starting -- will be on the pine. The Cardinals will almost certainly have a reserve middle infielder on the roster capable of playing shortstop. So that leaves one spot, most likely for an outfielder.
Some think Tavares has a chance to make the roster. But I believe he would have to tear the cover off the ball all spring to skip Class AAA. If he doesn't make it, the Cardinals could pencil Adams in to improve the power of the bench. But that means Shane Robinson is going to be shipped out and the Birds basically wouldn't have a reserve centerfielder.