Matt Adams

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Matt Adams
Adams with the St. Louis Cardinals
Colorado Rockies – No. 18
First baseman
Born: (1988-08-31) August 31, 1988 (age 32)
Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
Bats: Left Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 20, 2012, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
(through May 8, 2021)
Batting average.258
Home runs118
Runs batted in397
Career highlights and awards

Matthew James Adams (born August 31, 1988) is an American professional baseball first baseman for the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball (MLB). Nicknamed Big City for his imposing size and ability to regularly hit long home runs, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Adams in the 23rd round of the 2009 MLB draft from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. He has played in MLB for the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals.

Playing in the Texas League in 2011, Adams was recognized as that league's Most Valuable Player and the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year with a .300 batting average, 32 home runs and 101 runs batted in. He made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. In his rookie season in 2013, Adams hit 17 home runs in 296 at-bats. Adams has in MLB for the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals, and won the 2019 World Series with the Nationals.

Early life[edit]

Adams grew up in Philipsburg, Centre County, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Philipsburg-Osceola High School he attended Slippery Rock University[1] where he holds the career records of batting average (.473) and slugging percentage (.754). In 2009, he was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's Division II National Player of the Year.[2][3]

Baseball career[edit]

Draft and minor leagues[edit]

The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Matt Adams in the 23rd round of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft.[4] At each level he played in the minor leagues, Adams displayed prodigious hitting ability. His first full-season assignment came in 2010 with the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Class A Midwest League. In 121 games, he batted .310 with 71 runs scored, 44 doubles, 22 home runs (HR), and 88 runs batted in (RBI). His .541 slugging percentage (SLG) led all Cardinals minor leaguers.

In 2011, Adams was named the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year and the Texas League Most Valuable Player (MVP) after hitting .300, a .357 on-base percentage (OBP) and .566 SLG with 32 HR and 101 RBI in 115 games. He set club records in home runs and RBI, including eclipsing the mark of 29 HR Colby Rasmus set in 2007.[3][5] After the season, Adams played in the Arizona Fall League (AFL), and he was selected to represent the Cardinals in the AFL Rising Stars Game.[6]

St. Louis Cardinals[edit]


Prior to the 2012 season, Baseball America considered him the ninth best prospect in the Cardinals organization.[7] On May 20, 2012, the Cardinals called Adams up after placing Lance Berkman on the disabled list (DL). He went 2-for-4 in his major league debut.[8][9] He hit his first major league home run six days later. Adams played in 27 games with the Cardinals where he hit .244 with 13 RBI and two home runs before returning to Memphis.[10]

Adams batting against the Mets

Splitting time between the Memphis Redbirds of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League and the Cardinals, he continued to show consistent power and batting average in the minor leagues. At Memphis, Adams hit 18 home runs with 50 RBI as he batted .329 with a .624 slugging percentage.[10] However, an elbow injury brought an early end to his 2012 season. The injury, which had been a nagging problem much of summer, finally had to be treated surgically in mid-August to remove a bone spur.[11]


Adams led the Cardinals in 2013 spring training with 17 RBI.[2] It was at that point that Adams earned his nickname, "Big City." According to former teammate David Freese, several players had been searching for a nickname for the 6 ft 3 inch 230-pounder, when one day someone shouted out "Big City". Said Freese: "Well he's a big boy that can rake [the ball]. I guess it hit because the guy can flat-out hit."[12] Adams started off the regular season on the St. Louis Cardinals roster as a bench player, backing up first baseman Allen Craig. He caught the attention of the fans and media early on when in his first ten plate appearances he hit three home runs, two doubles, three singles, and a walk.[13] For a significant part of April, his batting average hovered between .640 and .700.[2]

With a right oblique strain, the Cardinals placed Adams on the 15-day disabled list on April 26, retroactive to April 22.[14] As the season progressed, teams began to notice his pull-hitting tendencies and often employed an extreme infield shift on him that left one or no fielders on the left side of the second base bag. He also had difficulty hitting off-speed pitches from left-handed pitchers. Because he often grounded out to the right side of the bag, his batting average began to precipitously decline. In June, he batted just .179 and .205 in August.[15]

At the conclusion of his rookie season, Adams finished with a .284 batting average and .503 SLG. He connected for 17 HR in 296 AB for a ratio of one home run every 17.41 at bats. That represented the third-best figure for rookies in franchise history. His home run to fly ball ratio was 21.8%, ranking 11th in the major leagues for all players with at least 300 PA.[16] Regular right fielder Carlos Beltrán became a free agent after the season. Craig shifted to right field to replace him, clearing a way for Adams to assume first base regularly.[17]


Adams batting against Atlanta, 2014

During a game against the Cincinnati Reds on April 3, 2014 in Cincinnati, Adams was attempting to catch a Chris Heisey pop-up that sailed into the shallow part of the seats. The infield tarp was in Adams' run path. As he leaned over the tarp to catch the ball, it was falling toward the second row of seats, and a fan named Chris Smith caught the ball with his own glove just above Adams' outstretch glove. Adams shifted his momentum to stand back up behind the tarp, and planted his glove on Smith's chest, pushing himself backward with a moderate shove. Smith, who had been recovering from knee surgery, gestured an obscenity with his hand toward him. During post-game interviews, Adams stated that he did not realize he had shoved Smith, but that he was preventing himself from falling into the stands.[18]

Opponents escalated the rate of infield shifting the employed against Adams in 2014, as it was already a league-wide trend. To foil the shift, he began to hit the ball more to left field (also a technique known as "taking the pitch the other way") from the outset of the season.[15] Another difference from the season prior was that he did not hit his first home run until the eleventh game of 2014, which took place against the Chicago Cubs. The results of his modified approach began to show, as he was batting .357 with a .400 OBP and .548 SLG through that game.[19] Despite the drop-off in the power numbers, he continued to hit well against the shift. As of June 10, he was batting .390 (16 for 41) on ground balls and line drives against the shift with three home runs for the year. He also did it without successfully bunting for a base hit.[20]

The team placed Adams on the DL for the second time in his MLB career from May–June. After his return, he homered in the first three games.[21] His first multi-homer game of the season came against the Colorado Rockies on June 23 at Coors Field with two home runs and six RBI in an 8–0 victory.[22] This was Adams' third MLB multi-home run game and first the six-RBI game for the Cardinals since David Freese did it June 7, 2012 against the Houston Astros.[23] In a July 7 contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Adams hit the first walk-off home run in the regular season by a Cardinals batter since Skip Schumaker did so against the Kansas City Royals in 2011.[24]

In Game 4 of the 2014 NLDS, Adams erased the Los Angeles Dodgers' 2–0 lead in the 7th inning with a three-run homer off ace Clayton Kershaw. The home run accounted for the winning runs in the Cardinals' 3–2 victory, helping to secure their fourth straight NLCS appearance.[25]


Matt Adams takes a throw in 2016

On May 27, 2015, the Cardinals placed Adams on the DL with a torn quadriceps muscle, and he was initially supposed to miss the remainder of the season.[26] The Cardinals reactivated him on September 9.[27] As an arbitration-eligible player prior to the 2016 season, Adams and the Cardinals agreed to a one-year, $1.65 million contract.[28] He continued his success in foiling the shift through May 2016 by a slight modification to his swing, and as a result, successfully gaining hits to each of the three outfield zones over 30 percent of the time. He had hit .354, three home runs, 14 RBI and .604 SLG through the first 25 days of that month.[29]

On July 22, 2016, while playing the Dodgers, Adams hit a 444 feet (135 m) home run in the 16th inning for walk-off, 4−3, win. It was the second time in his career he had hit a walk-off home run in the 16th inning.[30]

Atlanta Braves[edit]

On May 20, 2017, the Cardinals traded Adams and cash considerations to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league infielder Juan Yepez.[31][32]

Washington Nationals[edit]

Adams signed a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals on December 22, 2017.[33] On May 7, he homered twice versus the San Diego Padres, giving him his sixth and seventh in seven games, along with 13 RBI. He had hit 10 home runs through that point in the season.[34] Before he was traded, with the Nationals in 2018 he batted .257/.332/.510 with 18 home runs and 48 RBIs.[35]

Return to the Cardinals[edit]

On August 21, 2018, Adams was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for cash considerations.[36] With the Cardinals in 2018, he batted .158/.200/.333 in 57 at bats. Between the two teams in 2018, he batted .239/.309/.477 with 21 home runs and 57 RBIs in 306 at bats.[35]

Return to the Nationals[edit]

On December 15, 2018, Adams agreed to a one year, $4 million deal with the Washington Nationals.[37] In 2019 he batted .226/.276/.465 with 20 home runs and 56 RBIs as the Nationals went on to win the 2019 World Series.[38] The Nationals did not exercise a mutual option to bring Adams back for the 2020 season.[39]

New York Mets[edit]

On January 31, 2020, Adams signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets.[40] He elected to become a free agent on July 18, 2020.[41]

Return to the Atlanta Braves[edit]

On July 20, 2020, Adams signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves organization. He was informed that he made the Braves Opening Day Roster on July 23, 2020. On August 30, the Braves designated Adams for assignment. Adams was released on September 3, 2020.[42]

Colorado Rockies[edit]

On March 28, 2021, Adams signed a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies organization.[43] On April 29, 2021, Adams was selected to the active roster.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Matt Adams statistics and history". Archived from the original on May 17, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Rookie backup Matt Adams batting .643 for Cardinals". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. April 11, 2013. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Slippery Rock University Press (August 29, 2011). "Adams earns Texas League MVP honor". Slippery Rock University Athletics. Archived from the original on November 2, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  4. ^ Mlot, Josh (June 11, 2009). "Matt Adams drafted by St. Louis Cardinals". The Progress. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  5. ^ Leach, Matthew (November 30, 2011). "Miller, Adams earn Cards' Minors awards". Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  6. ^ Leach, Matthew (November 2, 2011). "Cards' Adams to play in Rising Stars Game". Archived from the original on November 4, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  7. ^ Goold, Derrick (November 21, 2011). "St. Louis Cardinals top 2012 prospects". Baseball America. Archived from the original on December 29, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  8. ^ "May 20, 2012 St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers play by play and box score". May 20, 2012. Archived from the original on June 22, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  9. ^ Langosch, Jenifer (May 12, 2012). "Adams hopes to impress in big league stint". Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Raymond, Jonathan (December 12, 2012). "Taveras not Lone Star for Cardinals". Archived from the original on December 15, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  11. ^ Starkey, J. P. (August 14, 2012). "Cardinals prospect Matt Adams undergoes surgery, return set for spring 2013". SB Archived from the original on August 16, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  12. ^ Frederickson, Ben (April 10, 2013). "Adams lives up to 'Big City' nickname". Fox Sports Midwest. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  13. ^ Goold, Derrick (April 15, 2013). "Hard for Cards to keep Adams on bench". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  14. ^ Langosch, Jenifer (April 26, 2013). "Cards place Adams on DL, purchase Curtis' contract". Archived from the original on April 29, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  15. ^ a b Nations, Steven (April 8, 2014). "Are we seeing a different Matt Adams?". Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  16. ^ Miklasz, Bernie (November 21, 2013). "Trade Matt Adams at your own risk". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on August 31, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  17. ^ Nations, Stephen (April 8, 2014). "Are we seeing a different Matt Adams?". Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  18. ^ Rosecrans, C. Trent (April 3, 2014). "Fan gets a shove from Cardinals' 1B Matt Adams". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on August 31, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  19. ^ "Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals – box score". April 12, 2014. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  20. ^ Knisley, Michael (June 10, 2014). "When the defense looks shifty ..." Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  21. ^ "Cardinals make it 7 of 8, stifle Mets 6–2". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. June 16, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  22. ^ Ulm, Cody (June 24, 2014). "Adams homers twice behind Lynn's gem". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  23. ^ Smith, Ryan (June 23, 2014). "Matt Adams' career night power Cardinals in Colorado". Redbird Rants. Archived from the original on July 3, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  24. ^ Halsted, Alex (July 7, 2014). "After scoreless duel, Cards walk off with win". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  25. ^ Schoenfield, David (October 9, 2014). "Cardinals again shock Kershaw, Dodgers". ESPN. Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  26. ^ Silva, Drew (May 27, 2015). "John Mozeliak announces Matt Adams will miss 3–4 months, possibly the year, with torn quad". HardballTalk. Archived from the original on May 28, 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  27. ^ Axisa, Mike (September 9, 2015). "Cardinals get another potent left-handed bat in Matt Adams". Archived from the original on September 9, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  28. ^ "Cardinals to re-sign Trevor Rosenthal, Seth Maness, Brandon Moss". Associated Press. January 15, 2016. Archived from the original on January 19, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  29. ^ Bailey, J. J. (May 25, 2016). "Big City spray: Matt Adams has remade himself as an all-field hitter". KMOV. Archived from the original on May 27, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  30. ^ Langosch, Jenifer; Krueger, Nick (July 23, 2016). "Dra-Matt-ic finish! Cards top LA in 16". Archived from the original on July 24, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 24, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ Bowman, Mark. "Braves acquire Matt Adams from Cardinals". MLB. Archived from the original on May 24, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
  33. ^ Collier, Jamal (December 22, 2017). "Nationals, Adams agree to one-year deal". Archived from the original on December 22, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  34. ^ Collier, Jamal (May 7, 2018). "Adams (7 HRs in 7 games) leads sizzling Nats". Archived from the original on May 10, 2018. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  35. ^ a b [1]
  36. ^ "Nationals trade Daniel Murphy, Matt Adams". August 21, 2018. Archived from the original on August 21, 2018. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  37. ^ "Matt Adams returning to Washington Nationals on one-year deal". December 15, 2018. Archived from the original on December 16, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  38. ^ "Washington Nationals win 2019 World Series". MLB. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  39. ^ Todd, Jeff (November 1, 2019). "Nationals Decline Mutual Option On Matt Adams". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  40. ^ "Mets sign slugger Adams to Minor League deal". January 31, 2020. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  41. ^ Toscano, Justin (July 18, 2020). "NY Mets: Matt Adams exercises release clause, Jacob deGrom on track". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  42. ^ Burns, Gabriel (September 3, 2020). "Braves release Matt Adams". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  43. ^
  44. ^

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