Adron Chambers. You might as well get used to hearing that name because this kid has a bright future in St. Louis. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he wasn’t even on the radar for Cards fans three weeks ago, but that is to be expected. I’ll admit that although I knew who Chambers was prior to his September call-up, I didn’t know a whole lot about him. Let’s just chalk this one up as a pleasant surprise, and one that I’m thrilled to be talking about.
When the Cardinals announced their final September call-ups on the fifth day of the month, Adron Chambers was by most accounts the least notable guy on the list. He was also the only guy on the list without any Major League experience. Chambers was added to the roster along with Tyler Greene, Tony Cruz, Nick Punto, Maikel Cleto, Shane Robinson, and Brandon Dickson. Not too long after that, I asked in a Sunday pollwhich of these players was likely to have the most significant impact during the final month of the season. Oddly enough, Adron Chambers was the only player who did not receive a single vote.
Anyway, the 24-year-old Chambers was the team’s 38th round draft pick in 2007. While he never appeared to get the attention he deserved as a valuable prospect, Chambers steadily worked his way up the ranks in this organization. After showing significant improvement in a solid 2009 campaign with Palm Beach in which he won Palm Beach Player of the Year, Adron spent time with AA Springfield and AAA Memphis last year. He was used primarily in the leadoff role and didn’t disappoint. Finally, after working his way up to No. 15 in the team’s prospect ranks and earning 2011 Cardinals organization Player of the Month in June, Chambers’ play warranted a late-season trip to the big leagues.
This brings us to where Chambers is now. Since making his debut as a pinch runner one day after being called up, he has made the absolute most of his opportunities. With a game-winning RBI single against the Phillies (his first MLB hit), a go-ahead three-run triple against the Mets, and a winning run scored against the Cubs on Saturday, Chambers is justifying his call-up more and more every time he gets the chance.
Given the reluctance of Tony La Russa to give young guys a shot and the fact that the Cardinals are in the middle of an intense Wild Card race, I find it impressive that Chambers has even made a name for himself in the first place. The Cards have good reason to be putting the best players on the field every game, and this is not a situation in which guys are going to get at-bats just for the sake of getting them experience. Chambers has earned the opportunities he’s been given, and it’s clear that his manager has faith in him right now.
"We watched him in Spring Training. This isn’t a gift promotion. John Mozeliak and the guys in the organization thought long and hard about it, and they just figured he earned it, and he gave us a lot of pluses — speed and three positions. He’s a very confident guy, and when he gets experience, he’s got a chance to be an impactful Major League player.~Tony La Russa"
Obviously, the first thing that everyone notices when watching Chambers play is his exceptional speed. He was a premium high school athlete who played defensive backs at Mississippi State through his sophomore year. His 76 stolen bases and 35 triples during his Minor League career are also evidence of his speed. However, Chambers has great defensive ability going for him as well, featuring good range, solid arm strength, and the versatility to play all three outfield positions. He is an average hitter with some gap power, and he can be dangerous at the top of an order. With that said, Adron could really help his cause by working on plate discipline to raise that average and being smarter on the base paths to raise his SB%.
I know a 5-10, 185 pound frame isn’t exactly ideal, but I honestly believe that Adron Chambers has valuable upside. The Cardinals have been dying for speed for about a decade, two of their starting outfielders are aging, and it never hurts to have another left-handed bat in the lineup. In 15 appearances with the Cardinals, Chambers is hitting .333 with two runs, 4 RBIs, and a triple. Yes it’s a very small sample size, but I like what I’ve seen so far.
He plays with confidence, he plays with passion, and he is making a difference in the Cardinals’ September surge. I’m not saying Chambers should be a starting outfielder at the Major League level anytime soon, but he’s worth keeping an eye on in the future. I could be dead wrong on this one, but I love what Chambers brings to this team.