The Impact Bat The Pittsburgh Pirates Need Was In Their Backyard
By Tom Smith
A repost of our man crush on Cardinals rookie Matt Adams. This was posted in 2011.
How was Matt Adams passed up by the Pirates, but drafted by the Cardinals? Guess it’s just bad luck.
We aren’t going to get real excited if Albert Pujols leaves the St. Louis Cardinals. You probably wonder why we would say that, right? We’ve got two words for you. Matt Adams.
Remember that talented player from the cool hometown we told you about on draft day back in 2009 – when we wrote this?
"The fifth player to be taken from P-O high school since 1996 will be Matt Adams. He is ready to sign. The Slippery Rock catcher is going to go far in the bigs. Why the Bucs wouldn’t take this kid is beyond my imagination. It will prove to be a mistake. He can flat out mash. June2009 RumBunter post"
Of course, you don’t remember that post, but maybe that’s because he’s from our hometown, not yours. He had just mashed his way through Slippery Rock University with a .495 average. It was tops in the country. It set a new SRU single-season record. Adams was all over the basepaths with a .566 OBP that ranked fifth-best nationally.
Before the 2009 draft, he worked out for three teams. The Kansas City Royals, the Cardinals, and his favorite team – the New York Yankees. The Royals didn’t see Adams going past the seventh round.
The Pirates weren’t in that mix. However, when it came time to put up or shut up…. 22 opportunities came and went for every Major League team to select Adams.
Nobody did. The Royals passed. The Pirates passed. The Yankees. The Cardinals. All of Major League Baseball passed on the Big Bopper from the Rock.
It had to hurt a player that loves baseball as much as Adams does.
But then the lucky 23rd round came…
With the 699th pick, the St. Louis Cardinals didn’t pass–they drafted Matt Adams. Ever since that day, the big man from our small town, Philipsburgh, Pennsylvania– where Adams once hit 22 consecutive bombs in a home run derby– has made the Cardinals organization look like geniuses.
"“I would say Matt has certainly been a pleasant surprise but as frequently happens with the MLB draft, quality players are often found in later rounds. For example, Albert Pujols was our 13th-round pick.” Cards Farm Director John Vuch"
Adams is about to make Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School even more proud of their native son. He is about to make Slippery Rock University even more proud of having their first Major League player since Bob Shawkey in 1927.
Adams has blasted 64 bombs in three years in the minors. He ripped 32 at AA Springfield this year to be named the 2011 Texas League Player of the Year. Let’s just say he has made a lot of baseball men look very foolish.
We believe Adams has a real shot at making the St. Louis Cardinals roster – well, if that Pujols guy leaves St. Louis he does. As he has done throughout his short time in the minors, we’re confident Adams will continue to mash homers against all of those teams that passed him over for twenty plus rounds.
And those Pittsburgh Pirates? Well, they are waiting until December 7 to see if Derrek Lee will join the team at an estimated cost of one-fifth or one-sixth of their entire projected payroll for 2012. [Note from Cocktailsfor2: You do remember that December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day, right?]
As the details of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement are coming to light, an Adams-like mistake is what haunts talent evaluators throughout the game. It’s exactly what the small market teams can’t afford to do.
Adams loved baseball. He shunned other popular sports growing up like football and wrestling. It’s not an easy thing to do in Central Pennsylvania, but it’s a small tidbit that should have been a 200-watt spotlight in retrospect.
The whole thing wouldn’t be so damn frustrating if it wasn’t the freaking World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Staring at Matt Adams is gonna be tough, but also really cool–you know, the homeboy effect. Especially frustrating when you realize what the Bucs did with their pick in that 23rd round in 2009. Yeah, Jose Hernandez.
Hernandez won’t ever be that daunting hitter standing in the on deck circle as Pedro Alvarez strides to the plate like Adams could have been. Hernandez was released this year.
We know what you’re thinking: Adams just can’t be this good right? He just doesn’t look athletic.
That’s what those college scouts thought.
That’s what all those pro scouts thought.
It’s what all the prospect rankings apparently believe–the lists that barely have Adams among the Cardinals’ top ten prospects.
If only those dents on the right-field water tower at the P-O High School baseball field could talk.
They’ve seen it all.
For all of you who think I am an armchair draft QB, we were on Adams from day one.
The State College CDT is pretty pumped about Adams. Guy Cipriano does a solid job in this article:
More of our shitty ramblings about what might have been – hell, you’d think the guy was Dan Marino or something. Shit. We hope so. No, we mean we hope not. At least not against the Pirates.
The numbers that Adams put up at short season Batavia look similar to what Alex Dickerson put up at State College. At least there is that…