Monday, February 24, 2014

Prospect Countdown: #14 Jason Adam

14. Jason Adam Right Handed Pitcher

Age: 23
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 219
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th Round of the 2010 Amateur Draft

2013 Rank: 9

2012 Rank: 11

2011 Rank: 19

Landon Adams (11): I saw Adam first hand quite a bit at the beginning of last season for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The experience was so disappointing that there was a time when I had all but mentally written him off as a future piece of a Kansas City rotation. However, Adam battled in 2014 and eventually was able to get his ERA all the way down o 5.19 to end the season and he was even better from a peripheral standpoint posting a 4.06 SIERA.

At this point Adam has solid stuff, but doesn't likely feature as anything more than a back of the rotation option. If he can somehow find the fastball that he flashed in the upper 90s during his first trip to instructs than his stock could quickly rise.

Adam had a strong showing in last year's Arizona Fall League and I think part of his problem last season was an unlucky start which he allowed to tailspin out of control. Hopefully, he can get off to a better start in 2014 and prove that he belongs in the top 10 prospects in the Royals system. If so, he would provide Kansas City with another near Major League ready arm to look at while trying to fill the three open spots in the 2015 rotation. 

Paden Bennett (20): I ranked Jason Adam the lowest because I just don't see him as becoming anything special at this point.  He does have some upside but I just don't see a ton.  Last season for Northwest Arkansas he had a 5.19 ERA and a 3.97 FIP.  He struggled with walks a little bit more last season than he has in the past, however his K rate did go up which was encouraging to see.  He is still only 22 and will probably start for the Naturals again this season so I hope that we continue to see progress in the strikeout department while lowering his walks.

Joe Cox (15):  Adam, a 2010 5th round pick for the Royals, is a local boy standing at 6-4 225 pounds.  He displays a low 90’s fastball with potential plus pitches in both his curve and change.  In 2013, Adam made the all-important jump to AA in 2013 with mixed results.  In 144 innings Adam posted a 5.19 ERA and a 3.97 FIP.  

Adam saw a lack of command he had yet to experience at the professional, walking 54 batters, hitting 15, along with 8 wild pitches.  Adam did post his highest K/9 of his minor league career at 7.88.  Adam may have had some bad luck with hit sequencing as he had a very poor 60.4 LOB%.  Adam is a young pitcher to monitor who has the upside of an innings eating back of rotation starter.  In 2014, it would be nice to see Adam regain his control without sacrificing much in the K department. 

Dan Ware (14):  Jason Adam showed some flashes of a potential front end starter with the Naturals in 2013.  Logging 144 innings and a career high 126 strikeouts, the 22 year old struggled with command, posting 54 walks with a BB/9 rate just above the Texas League average.  April was a month to forget, as he compiled an 0-2 record with an ugly 12.84 ERA in 5 starts to begin his Double-A stint.  

During May and June, although his combined record was just 3-6, he managed to drop his ERA, dramatically, to a more appealing 3.03.  Adam seemed to be rolling, but hit another wall in July, throwing 26.1 innings, logging a 7.18 ERA and a 21/15 K:BB.  The final month of the season ended on a good note for Adam, his best month of the season: 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA and tossing a 32/9 K:BB.

Adam has been playing in the Arizona Fall League this offseason.  For Peoria, he has logged 29 innings on the mound with a 2-2 record, 4.03 ERA and a 24/7 K:BB.  As long as he can work on command issues and throwing with consistent mechanics, he can gain back the 98 mph fastball he had in 2010.  I suspect Adam will get a few starts for NW Arkansas this coming season before the organization believes he has improved his command.

Nicholas Ian Allen (--): Generally, it is very difficult to project high school pitchers. As a local product, there was a lot of excitement about the big-bodied right-hander that threw in the mid 90s coming out of Overland Park, Kansas. However, after three seasons in the organization, the results have been less than thrilling.

Adam settled down and improved after an extremely rough start to 2013 in which he allowed five or more earned runs in each of his first four starts. While Adam battled all season, he was very inconsistent. The righty can put together a string of solid starts, then explode. He allowed six earned runs or more in six starts in 2013. Just when it looked like Adam could finish the year with an ERA below five, he allowed eight earned runs in just 2.1 innings August 26. He put together his best start of the year in the finale (four hits and no earned runs in seven innings), but it was not enough to cover up the up-and-down nature of the season.

There is still time for Jason Adam. However, at this point he allows far too many base runners. Adam allowed an alarming .277/.353/.409 slash line last season.  Most troubling to me, this has increased in each of his three professional seasons. In all, he has allowed .256/.319/.395 for his career. Those numbers must improve in 2014 for Adam to have any chance to reach his lofty potential. At this point, seeing him as a contributor out of the bullpen in Kansas City seems unlikely.

Total Points: 64

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