- Full name Adam James Stern
- Born 02/12/1980 in London, ON, Canada
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Nebraska
- Debut 07/07/2005
Drafted in the 3rd round (105th overall) by the Atlanta Braves in 2001.
View Draft ReportEast Carolina shortstop Lee Delfino is considered a slightly better prospect, but Stern could pass him as the first Canadian selected. Both figure to go near the fourth round. Stern is compared to Lenny Dykstra because he's a 5-foot-10, 178-pound sparkplug, but he lacks Dykstra's pop. He hit just .297 entering NCAA tournament play, the second-lowest average among Nebraska's regulars, but did bat .287 with wood in the Cape Cod League last summer. He has center-field range, the best outfield arm in the Big 12 Conference and is a plus runner.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Orioles system has improved significantly in the past couple of years, but depth is still an issue, particularly among hitters at the upper levels. So Baltimore was happy to get a potential big leaguer, albeit a complementary one, when they traded Javy Lopez to the Red Sox last August. The Red Sox got Stern from the Braves in the 2004 major league Rule 5 draft after he emerged as a prospect by accentuating his plus speed and strong center-field defense (including a solid arm) and shortening his line-drive swing. While spending most of 2005 with Boston to satisfy the Rule 5 guidelines, he got just 96 at-bats, and the rust showed at the plate last season. Stern isn't going to hit for much power, so he needs to make better contact and get on base more often. He'll compete for a job as an extra outfielder in Baltimore this spring, and that's the role he best fits into in the long term as well.
The Red Sox still need to do some more roster juggling before they officially own the rights to Stern, a major league Rule 5 draft pick from the Braves in 2004. Because he spent so much time on the disabled list and rehab assignments after breaking his right thumb in spring training, he came up 18 days short of the minimum 90 he had to spend on active big league duty. He got just 96 at-bats last year, so it was a wasted year of development at age 25. The Red Sox still like his potential to eventually contribute as a line-drive-hitting center fielder who can offer speed and defense. Stern had a breakthrough season in 2004--when he also played center field on Canada's fourth-place Olympic team--after he accepted the fact that power isn't his game. He shortened his stroke and focused on putting the ball in play, the better to take advantage of his plus speed. Drawing more walks also would help in that regard. A very capable center fielder, he has an above-average arm for his position. After Stern logs his required major league time in April, he'll probably go to Triple-A. David Murphy is scheduled to play center field in Pawtucket, so Stern may have to play on a corner.
Boston took Stern from the Braves in the major league Rule 5 draft in December and will give him the opportunity to make the big league club as a reserve outfielder. If he doesn't stick, he'll have to go through waivers and be offered back to Atlanta for half the $50,000 draft price before he could be sent to the minors. Stern hadn't done much as a pro before last year, missing most of 2003 with a hamstring injury. He earned Double-A Southern League all-star honors after finishing third in the batting race at .322, then helped Richmond win an International League playoff series by leading all players with a .357 average in the postseason. In between, he played center field for Canada at the Olympics. Stern's breakthrough came when he stopped worrying about power, shortened his swing and focused on putting the ball in play. He made much better contact than he had in the past, though he could make more use of his plus speed if he'd walk more often. After Johnny Damon, Stern is the best defensive center fielder on the roster, enhancing his chances of making the team. His arm strength is another asset.
The Braves tried to help shore up center field, their weakest position in the minors, by drafting Stern in the third round in 2001. Rated the best draft prospect in Nebraska by Baseball America, he draws favorable comparisons to Lenny Dykstra with his all-out style of play and decent pop at the top of the order. Stern's greatest strength is his speed. He has been clocked between 6.4 and 6.5 seconds in the 60-year dash, covers center field from gap to gap and creates havoc on the basepaths with his aggressiveness. His arm is above average for a center fielder. Stern showed little difficulty in making the adjustment to wood bats and also had a good eye at the plate. A native of Canada, he hasn't played as much baseball as many of his American counterparts, but he has a chance to make an impact in an organization that has minimal talent in the outfield.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Atlanta Braves in 2004