As of this moment, Matt Adams is on pace to finish the season with just 249 plate appearances — clearly not enough to make him a no-doubt fantasy option, despite his ridiculous early-season performance. Adams is 11-for-18 so far with three homers, eight RBIs and an OPS of 1.872. He's only started four games this year, yet he somehow has more total hits than Ryan Braun (10-for-30), Matt Kemp (10-for-51) and Buster Posey (9-for-39).
Adams is, for lack of a better cliché, absolutely on fire.
But as everyone knows, he's also blocked at first base in St. Louis by Allen Craig. Defensively, Adams really doesn't fit at any other spot. The Cards have zero motivation to trade him, because he's cheap ($490K), young (24) and enormously talented (see above). Adams hasn't seriously struggled at any pro level, MLB included. He hit .310 in the Midwest League with 22 homers in 2010, then .300 with 32 bombs in the Texas League the following year, and then .329 with 18 homers in just 67 games in the PCL last season. He's verifiably great.
As St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said this spring, "The bat plays."
And still, Adams is a part-timer, a pinch-hitter with benefits. An extremely high-maintenance fantasy asset.
If you're among the 13 percent of Yahoo! fantasy managers who currently own Adams, then no doubt his playing-time situation is wearing you down. He's fine for folks in daily transaction leagues, as long as A) they have no shortage of bench spots, and B) they're available to run pre-game checks of the Cardinals' lineup every day. But if you're the type who prefers to set a lineup and forget it, then it's tough to deal with players like this — even if they're hitting .611.
Here's where I'm at on Adams: I'd rather own him than any prospect in the player pool, with the possible exception of Wil Myers. (See Closing Time for details. Myers is an excellent power prospect, the Rays have a clear need for his bat, and he's not blocked by anyone too intimidating). It's close with Yasiel Puig and Nolan Arenado, but, well ... Adams is in the big leagues now, today.
If one of the Cards' injury-prone vets gets injured (Craig, Carlos Beltran), then Adams will have an unobstructed path to regular at-bats. A player this talented is certainly worth stashing in mixers, whenever and wherever possible.