Fantasy Baseball 2012: What to Do with St Louis Cardinal Matt Adams

Dan KuklaCorrespondent IIIJune 8, 2012

HOUSTON,TX-JUNE 05: Matt Adams #53 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a three-run home run in the third inning against the Houston Astros on June 5, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Not even two weeks ago, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams was busy taking the fantasy baseball world by storm. Now he's busy riding the bench.

What are his fantasy owners to make of this situation?

Called up to replace injured Lance Berkman, Adams excelled at the MLB level right away. He hit 2-of-4 in his first game for the Cardinals and quickly turned that into a .382/.417/.618, four-run, five-RBI start over his first nine contests, recording one home run and five doubles.

Since May 28, however, Adams is just 2-of-26 in his last nine games. Both hits came on the same night, June 5 against Houston. One was a three-run homer that temporarily restored confidence in the breakout rookie. Three strikeouts during the following game quickly balanced that out.

Making matters worse for Adams is the hot hitting of Allen Craig. While healthy, Craig has hit .382/.437/.737 in 19 games with seven home runs, six doubles, 26 RBI and 14 runs. Even though the Cardinals are battling a long list of injuries, Adams and Craig are making first base feel quite crowded.

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny doesn't want to play Carlos Beltran in center field for both health and defense concerns. His presence in right field makes first base the preferable landing spot for Craig. First base also happens to be the only position played by Adams.

On June 1, Matheny put Beltran in center, Craig in right and Adams at first for Craig's first game back from his second DL stint this season. Since then, however, Adams has seen limited playing time.

Adams started at first base on June 2 with Craig on the bench, on June 5 with Beltran sitting and Craig in right, and on June 6 with Craig in left field. He came off the bench as a pinch hitter in the other three games this month.

There's no knowing how Matheny will set his lineup from here on out, but Adams looks to be the odd man out as long as Craig stays hot. His fantasy owners can expect him to start about 50 percent of games at best for the time being.

That lack of playing time combined with his current slump makes the once red-hot rookie call up suddenly hard to keep.

If you can afford the roster spot, I would keep Adams around to see how this all shakes out. Although he is better than most people realize, Craig can't keep this pace up forever so don't expect him to completely fall off.

Adams should maintain production somewhere in between what he did in his first nine games and his second nine games. Add in a few homers that are sure to come and you can see that Adams possesses enormous upside.

As the streaks come and go, Matheny's nightly lineup decisions will become more difficult. The stats will even out and so will the playing time. Beltran and Craig are both brittle as well so another injury giving Adams his full-time gig back isn't out of the question at all.

If you can't afford to burn the roster spot, however, I take no issue with dropping Adams in a 10-12-team mixed league. Unless that Beltran or Craig injury comes, Adams looks to be stuck in this revolving door at first base all season long. When Berkman returns, Adams will likely be sent back down to Memphis to make room.

First base is a deep position in fantasy baseball just like it is in St. Louis. Adams is likely only playing at the infield or utility positions for any team in your league. Those spots aren't hard to fill with hot waiver wire All-Stars.

Scooping up a hot prospect before your opponents do is a great feeling in fantasy. Sometimes, though, we have to swallow our pride before it hurts our team.