St. Louis Cardinals Matt Adams: Bounce Back Candidate in 2016

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams had a good 2013 and 2014, but last season was shortened with an injury. He will be ready to bounce back this season.

The St. Louis Cardinals offense struggled a bit throughout the 2015 season. The team was able to get on base, but the scoring output was not where it needed to be. The team only had one 20-home run hitter. The offense could have been a lot better if they had first baseman Matt Adams. He missed over three months with a torn quadriceps muscle, but returned in September. He will be ready for a healthy 2016 season.

Before his call up, Adams was regarded as one of the top prospects in the Cardinals organization. He made his debut on May 20 and went 2-for-4. He finished the season with 27 games played, two home runs, 13 RBI and a .244 average. 

The next two seasons put him on the map. In 250 games, he hit 32 home runs and 119 RBI with a .287 average. He made a lot of improvements between the 2013 and 2014 seasons. His strikeout rate dropped almost five percent, his ground ball rate dropped almost 10 percent and his fly ball rate rose over five percent. It does help that he played in 34 more games in 2014.

Last season was expected to be Matt Adams’ breakout season, and fantasy owners were ready. He was drafted around the 14th round in most leagues, 138.1 ADP in ESPN leagues. He was the 13th first baseman drafted, between Brandon Moss and Lucas Duda. Unfortunately, injury struck and cut his season short. He was able to come back mid-September. In his final 17 games, seven starts, he hit one home run, four RBI and a .226 average. I don’t fault him for that. He was still getting back in the swing of things (no pun intended). He hit five homers, 24 RBI and .240 in 60 games.

It’s hard to compare the sabremetrics for the 2015 season because of how short it was. Let’s take a look anyway. Matt Adams had a 22.0 strikeout rate, 5.4 walk rate, 41.0 ground ball rate, 9.6 HR/FB rate and 37.0 hard hit rate. Some of the numbers were a drop off from the 2014 season, but the hard hit and HR/FB rates went up.

I don’t think there is much to worry about the injury recurring. The fact that he was able to come back in the same season should speak volumes that he is ready for the 2016 season. A good Spring Training will get him back in baseball mode and ready for Opening Day.

Because of the injury, Matt Adams has fallen on the rankings. Rotoballer.com ranks him 225th in the league and 22nd among first baseman. With the depth of the first base position, Adams has a lot of work cut out for him to move back up to the top 15. However, with the power and contact surrounded by some talented hitters, he has the ability to be a bounce back pick in 2016.

Projections: 92 hits, 14 home runs, 52 RBI, .270 average

Draft: Round 20