ottoneu Hot Right Now: Matt Adams

Ever since writing my first ottoneu Hot Right Now a few weeks back, I have been tracking the numbers and planning to cover the topic again. I’ve seen a number of players creep up into Humber-Territory, crossing into double-digit auctions, but when I pulled the numbers on Monday, something remarkable happened.

And that something is Matthew Adams. As of Monday evening, there were only four players with five or more ongoing auctions, but Adams had almost as many auctions himself as the other three (Todd Frazier, James McDonald and Craig Stammen) combined – 25 to their 15.

So why has Adams crashed through the auction ceiling, sky-rocketing to heights never before seen?*

Adams seems to have hit upon a perfect storm of auction-worthiness. First, the one sure-fire way to get a bunch of auctions started is to get an opportunity to play. This list is often populated with reserves thrust into full-time duty by injuries, called up prospects, and newly anointed closers.

Second, in order to be auction-worthy, you have to have not been previously owned. Bryce Harper didn’t shoot up the auction list when he was called up because he was almost universally owned even before the Nats made the call. Adams, on the other hand, didn’t rate as all that ownable prior to the season, ranked number eight in the Cardinals system by Marc Hulet.

But as a 23-year-old prospect, he is absolutely mashing at Triple-A, following up a breakout year in Double-A. He is moving up prospect lists and was starting to generate buzz with his 30-home-run power even before the injury to Lance Berkman created space for the youngster.

In the next 48 hours, 25 ottoneu teams will be adding Adams to their roster, and the question is, should your team be one of them? Adams definitely brings the power-potential, but there are some question marks. Despite hitting for both average and power (32 HR with a .300 average in double-A last year), Adams has not proven adept at taking walks, (7.8% BB-rate in 2011, 5.9% thus far in 2012). He helps himself, though, by striking out only about 17% of the time, a pretty good rate for a slugger. Also, while his numbers are very good, they are also PCL-inflated.

The biggest question you have to ask yourself, though, is likely to revolve around timing. It is unlikely the Cards called up Adams to ride the pine, but there is a crowd at first. The news on Berkman was a bit better than expected (a little bit; perhaps a VERY little bit), Allen Craig should not be out long, and Matt Carpenter is also around. Craig, in particular, poses a problem, as the Cardinals have needed to find a place to play him and, when healthy, he belongs in the lineup. With Berkman out, Craig figures to see most of the playing time at 1B, at least when he is healthy enough to play.

In addition, Adams is just 23, has just a little over a month in triple-A, and may very well need more seasoning before he is ready to impact a pennant race (and the Cardinals surely expect to be fighting to defend their title this Fall). I would not be at all surprised if Adams finds himself back in Memphis at some point this year.

However, if you need some cheap power or have the space to stash the big first basemen for 2012, he is worth grabbing. He should provide very good power numbers in 2013, with a solid average to boot, and you just may catch lightning in a bottle with him this Summer. I wouldn’t hesitate to bid on Adams (and if you win, I would thank your good fortune that no one nabbed him earlier in the year), but don’t bid expecting 25 HR and a .300 average this year. Actually, don’t bid expecting much of anything this year – bid with an eye towards 2013 and consider anything you get in 2012 icing on the cake.

*In the month I have been tracking this, anyway.

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Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let’s Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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Stuck in a slump
Stuck in a slump

I’ve been debating picking up Adams in a keeper league that I’m in. I currently have Carlos Pena at 1B and of all my ‘expendable’ players, Chisenhall seems like the most likely candidate. However, given that Chisenhall has played in only about 2/3 of the games that Adams has, and doesn’t have the benefit of playing in the PCL, is it worth the pickup?

Their triple slash numbers are very similar with Adams having a .340/.375/.603 line vs Chisenhall’s .337/.367/.576 line. Am I wrong for leaning towards positional scarcity and against PCL inflation in this case? Or should I drop Chisenhall for a younger 1B considering the depth of the league and age/decline of Pena could mean I’ll be hurting for a 1B in the coming seasons?