St. Louis Cardinals: Five Winners from 2017 Spring Training

Mar 28, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (32) celebrates with right fielder Stephen Piscotty (55) after hitting a three run home run against the New York Mets during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 28, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (32) celebrates with right fielder Stephen Piscotty (55) after hitting a three run home run against the New York Mets during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Feb 27, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (32) smiles as he comes up to bat during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (32) smiles as he comes up to bat during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

St. Louis Cardinals winner number four: Matt Adams.

Having delivered some of the St. Louis Cardinals’ most significant walk-offs and postseason hits since his debut in 2012, Matt Adams made a case for the Cardinals to at least reconsider their corner infield plan come Opening Day. The first baseman finished with a team-leading five home runs and 11 RBIs over spring, starting games at multiple spots in St. Louis’ lineup.

Part of this offensive improvement could stem from an offseason diet and Pilates routine that allowed him to lose 30 pounds since the start of last season. And it even encouraged him to cover left field near the end of spring training, a routine that could help him earn more playing time when his bat is hot in 2017.

Adams showed he could contribute in other unexpected offensive roles, drawing four walks and bunting for a few infield singles over the past month. If nothing else, Big City gave fans a reason to be optimistic about his potential for the upcoming season.

Who this affects most?

Assuming Adams can maintain a hot bat into the start of the season, he could work his way into more starts at first base. This could mean that Matt Carpenter moves back over to third base or second base for playing time, which ultimately has a chain effect on how many starts Jhonny Peralta, Jedd Gyorko and Kolten Wong may receive over time.

Regular season goal

Adams reached the thirty home runs, 100 RBI season plateau with the Springfield Cardinals in 2011, a season in which he also hit above .300. A similar slash line to that campaign would be a best-case scenario, and reaching above half this total in the home runs and RBI totals would also come as a pleasant surprise.