When Freddie Freeman was hit by an Aaron Loup fastball on May 16, Braves country fell silent. It was later announced that Freeman had fractured his left wrist and would be out for up to ten weeks. Three days later, GM John Coppolella completed a trade to bring Matt Adams to Atlanta. Many though Adams to be a filler until Freeman comes back, but Adams has exploded in a surprisingly surging Atlanta Braves’ lineup.
Adams has left off where Freeman stopped, and as of Tuesday, Freeman and Adams have combined for the most home runs and highest slugging percentage among first basemen in the MLB. Before Tuesday, Adams has hit 8 home runs since joining the Braves on May 21, which ties him for the most home runs among National League hitters since being acquired. Adams has also been solid at first base, as he’s only committed 2 errors in 22 games.
Since Adams has joined the Braves, the Braves have won 12 out of 26 contests, which is remarkable considering the Braves are missing their best hitter. Adams has played a big part in the Braves’ recent success, as before Monday’s showdown with the Washington Nationals, the Braves were 1-19 in Washington D.C. since 2015, but on Monday, Adams homered twice and drove in four runs to lead the Braves to a 11-10 victory over the 1st place Nationals. Ever since he was acquired, the team has averaged 4.2 runs a game. Adams has helped the Braves offense cover up some of the issues the Braves have in their starting rotation, including Bartolo Colon (7.78 ERA), R.A. Dickey (5.59 ERA on the road), and Julio Teheran (7.25 ERA at home).
As Freeman gets closer to returning back to the field, a decision will have to be made on Adams. There have been reports that the Braves could potentially move Adams to third base, which has been a weakness with rookie Rio Ruiz and 32-year-old Adonis Garcia. Although Adams lost thirty pounds to improve his agility in the offseason, there are many questions whether Adams would be quick enough to handle the hot corner.
Another option for the Braves would be to move Adams before the trade deadline, as the Braves are presumed to be sellers at the deadline (10 GB of 1st place Nationals). If Adams keeps playing the way he currently is, teams at the trade deadline could be willing to give up young prospects to bolster the already stacked Braves farm system. Adams is also under contract until the end of the 2018 season, so the Braves could keep him as a bench piece/utility man for the rest of the season. Whatever happens with “Big City”, Adams has made Freddie Freeman’s injury a lot less painful that it originally was.