Ever since the May 20th trade that brought Matt Adams over to the Atlanta Braves, Adams has really come into his own and earned a consistent starting spot for the Braves. In 53 games, he has 15 homeruns, 1 triple and 40 RBIs and a .288 batting average. This is absolutely the best season of his career and the Braves have him under contract for one more year on a team friendly deal. All they had to sacrifice was Juan Yepez, a minor league infielder, who is at best, is a fringe MLB player (if that). With his huge output outbreak this year, many Braves fans are left wondering why and how he is playing so well?
For one, from the moment he was brought over, he had a guaranteed starting spot for at least a month and a half. This was really the first time he’d ever been guaranteed playing time, day in and day out. This reassurance can do a lot for a player as they can go out and play loose and relaxed, instead of playing tight and worrying about every play or at bat. Instead of worry about whether or not you’ll lose playing time because of one play, he was able to play loose and have fun and take it one pitch or one play at a time. Clearly. this reassurance has done wonders for Adams and with his play, the Braves have even moved Freddie Freeman, an all-star first baseman, to third so they can keep Adams in the lineup. This move has installed even more confidence into Adam and his swing.
Secondly, he was also placed into a position where the expectations weren’t sky-high; whether for the team or for his individual performance. The Braves were never expected to make the playoffs this season, which eliminates most of the criticism and questioning which can fall onto a player on a high expectation team. On an individual level, Adams was brought in originally as a quick fix for the Freeman injury situation, which again lowered expectations, and made it easier for him to focus on improving his craft.
Finally, manager Brian Snitker and the Braves’ hitting coaches have also had very big influences on Adams’ breakout season. Snitker, for one, is a very well-liked manager by the players and also didn’t force Adams to learn a new position, like he had to in St. Louis. In St. Louis, Mike Matheny, their manager, moved Adams to left field to try to learn and master it during the season. For any player, learning a new position is a major challenge and to try to do this and still manage to be a good MLB hitter at the same time, is nearly impossible. For Adams, it was just too much on his plate, and Snitker realized this and let Adams go back to first, his normal position, and get back to working everyday on hitting.
All of these different factors have great influenced Adams and caused his incredible breakout season and as you can see the Braves absolutely destroyed the trade with the Cardinals.