CINCINNATI -- After a troubled 2015 season that included a long-term injury and some offensive struggles, Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams needed a bounceback 2016 campaign.So far, he's done just that, posting a career-high .333/.386/.583 line through the Cardinals' first 59 games with eight homers -- including one in Wednesday's
CINCINNATI -- After a troubled 2015 season that included a long-term injury and some offensive struggles, Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams needed a bounceback 2016 campaign.
So far, he's done just that, posting a career-high .333/.386/.583 line through the Cardinals' first 59 games with eight homers -- including one in Wednesday's 12-7 win over the Reds. That's already three more home runs than he hit in nearly 50 more at-bats last season.
"I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself coming into this year," Adams said. "I had a good spring, and just continue to keep working and trying to keep working on the swing and try to get everything dialed in right, and I feel that's where it is right now. Everything's clicking, and I feel comfortable in the box."
As productive as Adams has been this year, he's been even better since mid-May. Over his last 15 games, dating back to May 22, Adams is hitting .370/.423/.674 with four home runs and 14 RBIs. With a 2-for-5 night on Wednesday, Adams extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games, just one short of his career high.
The power is really something that's increased for Adams this season. His 16.5 AB/HR is the best it's been since he posted 17.4 AB/HR in his 2013 campaign, when he hit 17 home runs in 108 games.
"I feel like I'm driving the ball like I can to all fields now," Adams said.
That ability fields has really played a big part in his success this season. Adams still sees a fair bit of shifting from opposing teams, despite the fact that he's hitting the ball the other way at a career-high 30.9 percent and pulling the ball at a career-low 36.1 percent, entering Wednesday, according to Fangraphs. Of his eight home runs, three have been hit to left or left-center field and another was hit to center field.
"I think it's a natural result of him driving the ball the other way," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think last year, last couple years, he was trying, at times, to hit it there but wasn't really being rewarded, so he felt like his only potential to do damage was to pull. … It's a very solid approach he has going on right now."
For the most part, teams haven't adjusted to Adams' current approach. And if they do, Adams still has the ability to do damage to the pull side, making it all the more difficult to defend him.
"He's still a guy who can, well [other teams are] also looking at sample size, looking at the past several years, his spray charts are going to lead them in the direction to pull, and I get that," Matheny said. "But I think for his long-term development, I like right where he is right now, and hopefully he continues to do that."
Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.