At the moment, the St. Louis Cardinals have an injured first basemen on the big league roster (Lance Berkman, calf) and a hot-hitting first base prospect stashed at Triple-A Memphis (Matt Adams, .419 AVG, 3 HR). Under slightly different circumstances — different timing, different injury prognosis — we'd be issuing an urgent buy-order on Adams. But for now, the 23-year-old simply remains a prospect of interest, another name to file away.
Just check his recent minor league stats...
2012, Triple-A — 5 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB, .419/.455/.806, 7 K, 33 PA
2011, Double-A — 80 R, 32 HR, 101 RBI, 0 SB, .300/.357/.566, 90 K, 513 PA
2010, Single-A — 71 R, 22 HR, 88 RBI, 5 SB, .310/.355/.541, 78 K, 510 PA
As you can probably tell from the image above, Adams is a big-and-tall shopper. Not a small dude. (For obvious reasons, I'm terrified to read anything that Brad Evans ever writes about him. Brad has a fondness for players with similar proportions. No idea why. Maybe he went to Steve Balboni Fantasy Camp when he was a kid. Hell if I know). Whenever Adams arrives in the majors — definitely by 2013, possibly sooner — he'll clear a few fences.
The Cardinals' depth chart is loaded with injury risk, so it wouldn't be a huge surprise if Adams made his MLB debut this season. He's on the watch list, and he's scorching hot right now.
• Minnesota's Brian Dozier is off to a ridiculous start at Triple-A, going 12-for-25 with four walks over his first seven games. The 24-year-old shortstop was the organization's minor league player of the year in 2011, as he hit .320/.399/.491 across two levels with nine homers, 12 triples, 33 doubles and 24 stolen bases. He's definitely a person of interest for the AL-only crowd. The Twins don't exactly have the league's most impressive middle infield; Jamey Carroll and Alexi Casilla are both hitting .143 as of this writing.
• Mike Trout is doing just what you thought he'd do this year, hitting .389/.425/.556 at Triple-A Salt Lake, stealing bases (three), getting at least one hit in every game. He's the youngest player in the PCL, too. There are zero doubts about his talent and his fantasy upside. The only issues right now are the various obstacles to playing time in Anaheim. Peter Bourjos is an excellent defensive center fielder and he's hitting .294; the Angels' corner outfielders are each making a buzillion dollars. That team can't find at-bats for Bobby Abreu or Mark Trumbo, so we can't reasonably expect to see Trout until trades or injuries clear a path.
• Anthony Rendon's ankle injury turned out to be a fracture, not merely a sprain. His season apparently isn't at risk, but he probably won't get another mention around here for a little while. Rough news for the Nats third base prospect, the sixth overall pick in last year's draft.
• Anthony Rizzo is off to another excellent start at Triple-A, hitting .387/.424/.677 with three early homers. For reasons that are unclear to me, many Cubs fans would apparently like to see him promoted as soon as possible, as if last year never happened. The most likely scenario (I'd hope) is that Rizzo will get a consolidation year, or at least a half-year. He's still just 22. The Cubs aren't contending for anything except draft position, so there's no reason to rush Rizzo to the majors.
• Dylan Bundy still hasn't allowed a hit or a walk in his two appearances at Single-A Delmarva, and he's racked up 12 Ks. David Cameron was on-hand to scout the 19-year-old's second start, and he wrote as glowing a review as you'll ever see of a lower-level pitching prospect. Here's a sample...
The last five batters Bundy faced had about as much of a chance up there as I would have. They couldn't even make contact, much less try and actually get a hit off of him.
I've seen some really good performances in the minors. This topped them all. This was a man-versus-boy scenario. It took about 15 pitches to realize that Bundy does not belong in Delmarva. He probably doesn't even belong in A-ball.
...but you should really give the full piece a read. If you're in a dynasty format of any kind, Bundy really needs to be owned by someone. In this one instance, forget your anti-Orioles bias.
While we're talking pitchers...
• Trevor Bauer is now 2-0 at Double-A Mobile, with 18 Ks over 10.2 innings. He still hasn't allowed a run, and he's given up just four hits. You should expect to see him in Arizona this season. To give you an idea of how promising this 21-year-old right-hander really is, I'll direct you to Scott Pianowski's Friends & Family roster. We only have three bench spots to work with in the F&F and Scott is a notorious prospect-hater, yet he's nonetheless stashed Bauer for later use.
• The Padres are expected to call up RHP Joe Wieland for a weekend start against LA, and it might not be a bad idea to monitor the early returns. Wieland was acquired in the Mike Adams deal with Texas last year, while he was enjoying his best minor league campaign. He posted a 1.97 ERA across two levels, striking out 150 batters over 155.2 innings and walking just 21. Give him a look, deep leaguers. John Sickels has a scouting report right here, with video.