Matt Adams gives his teammates high-fives in the dugout in a game against the Rockies on Sept. 16.
Predicting heroes in October is nearly impossible. Ideally, the safe bet would be a team’s best slugger. However, it isn’t always that simple. With that in mind, I’m predicting one rookie star to be a hero in the 2013 playoffs for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Said rookie is none other than Matt “Big Country” Adams, who is playing the best baseball of his young career.
Before I give reasons as to why Adams will be a hero in this year’s postseason, allow me to refresh your memory on heroes past.
Majority opinion said veterans Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran would be heroes during the 2012 version of baseball’s postseason tournament.
The jury decided otherwise.
Baseball is a funny game with inexplicable occurrences happening every night.
Who would’ve thought rookie shortstop Pete Kozma would be such a factor during last season’s run to the National League Championship Series? Very few.
Kozma was a reserve player until starter Rafael Furcal hurt his right throwing elbow, which ended his season. In stepped 24-year-old Kozma, a rather green prospect with little experience in the big leagues.
In Game 5 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals, Kozma came to the plate in the ninth with the score knotted at 7-7. He was the Cardinals’ last hope of seeing another day. With two on and two out, Kozma roped a two-run single to give the visiting Cardinals a 9-7 advantage. The all-important clutch hit sent the Cardinals to the NLCS and forever made Kozma a postseason hero in St. Louis.
Back to Adams and why I believe he will be a hero this postseason.
When starting first baseman Allen Craig suffered a gruesome injury to his left foot after rounding first base in the Cardinals’ 5-4 win over the Reds on Sept. 4, Adams took over.
He’s since excelled as an everyday player. Since taking over for Craig—who will likely miss the remainder of the regular season—Adams has crushed eight home runs, has driven in 15 and is hitting .325.
More impressive are Adams’ ridiculous numbers with runners on base. With runners on, the 25-year-old rookie is hitting .360, with 11 homers and 45 runs batted in. With runners in scoring position, Adams has had similar success at the plate this season, hitting .346 with five homers and 32 RBI.
The big man is blossoming into a lethal left-handed hitting power threat in his first full season with the Cardinals. Finding at-bats for him used to be taxing for manager Mike Matheny. Now, it's a no-brainer.
Why would Adams be a postseason hero for the Cardinals? Simply because “Big City” is on fire with three games remaining in the regular season. As a young hitter, confidence is crucial.
Adams won’t be lacking confidence heading into October.