Cristhian Adames is the type of player you love to have around until he starts to show up a little to often. That can be said about most utility players. Adames had a fine rookie season. He played well when forced into the starter’s role after Trevor Story got injured, but he’s nobody’s idea of a starter on a contending team.
About half of Adames’s 257 plate appearances came from Opening Day to July 30. Adames didn’t exactly do well in that time, especially at the plate. He hit just .183/.288/.266. But he also only started 16 of the 72 games he appeared in. Mostly, appeared to offer a reliable infield glove when the Rockies needed it.
But then Trevor Story got hurt, and the Rockies were forced to play Adames much more than they or he anticipated. Adames started 27 games from July 31, first day without Story, until the end of the season. He even hit better in that time than he did to start the year. Adames finished up with a .250/.320/.336 line while holding down shortstop.
It amounted to a season that left a taste more bitter than Adames deserves. If Adames was able to cruise through the season entering in the eighth or ninth as a defensive replacement and catch a spot start once a week, his season would’ve been the fulfillment of a utility infielder’s destiny. He’s just not a starter.
Adames, who if it wasn’t clear by now is a light-hitting utility infielder, also hit his first two career home runs in 2016. The first was a center field shot that came in Pittsburgh off of Jared Hughes. The second one went out to right center field and took place against Brandon Morrow in San Diego (#Coors). Both were ninth-inning home runs, which is just another reason why Adames should only enter baseball games in the seventh inning or later.
Adames will be 25 next year, and he’s on track to continue making the league minimum. His role shouldn’t change. Adames will be a welcome site in the clubhouse and roaming the infield at Coors Field, as long we don’t see him too much.