(BaseballStL) — Like many Cardinals this season, Matt Adams has evolved. The 25-year-old won the full time first baseman job with a strong performance in 2013, and while his bat promises to bring more power to the lineup, it’s his glove that is making a mark early this season.
Big City, down 15 pounds from last year to Moderately-sized Metropolis, has looked smooth in the field. He’s made plays to both sides, seemingly increasing his range over last season and his comfort at the edges of it.
It’s nothing new to Mike Matheny, who has long thought Adams was an underrated glove.
“I thought last year he did a terrific job, so I don’t think there’s a big secret that this guy’s a better defender than what you’d expect,” he said.
Last season, Adams started 63 games at first base, finishing five runs above average in the field. Over the course of a full season, he projected to finish 10 runs above average based on the plays he made.
While he was slightly below average in defensive runs saved and UZR (a comprehensive measure of defensive prowess), his small sample size and youth painted an optimistic picture for the future.
Now, he is beginning to fill that picture in.
The staff hopes as he continues to evolve and gain confidence, he can begin to emerge as an elite defender at his spot.
“He moves exceptionally well, and we’re just trying to increase his confidence to where he’s even more aggressive,” Matheny said.