Prospect Countdown #30 : Austin Adams

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #30 : Right-Handed Pitcher, Austin Adams (photo : Jerry Espinoza)

Austin Adams, Right-Handed Pitcher

HT : 6'2
WT : 225
DOB : May 5, 1991 (24), Tampa, Florida
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : University of South Florida (Tampa, FL)
Acquired : Drafted in 8th Round of 2012 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #34


When compiling the votes for the countdown, a few of the voters for Scout.com met at a restaurant and ordered sliders. If you know the Los Angeles Angels farm system, you automatically connect sliders to prospect, Austin Adams. One of, if not the best, arsenals throughout the entire system is now nearing Major League time, and could be a key asset to the Angels future success, immediately.


SCOUTING REPORT:

No prospect in the Angels system comes equipped with an arsenal quite like what Adams has in his tool box. Mixing in a pair of fastballs and pair of off-speed offerings that all register as plus Major League pitches isn't something that goes unnoticed, but there's much work left ahead before Adams becomes an elite relief pitcher or prospect.

Adams is a max effort pitcher, which can lead to overthrowing his pitches, which in turn results in control problems. Finding the zone has never been a high mark for Adams despite the wicked arsenal. He has simplified his mechanics and taken a step down from hurling pitches in to thinking about his body and release point in each pitch.

Sometimes over thinking can cause problems at the plate and the same goes on the mound. Adams keeps his composure, but it is evident at times he's battling his inner demons of finding the zone. He has started to slow his mind down on the mound and keep to his gameplan which had lead to better results.

That approach changes over the season but primarily begins with finding command with a pair of fastballs early and finishing it off with his off-speed. As for his fastballs, he has a two-seam that sits 92-94 and cutting four-seam that ranges from 94-98 miles per hour. He can also not only use his fastballs to set up his off-speed, but also attack both right and left-handed bats.

Adams has what can be registered in most opinions as the best single pitch through the entire system in his slider. It comes in quick on a fastball plane with a late and harsh tilt. He has the ability to back door lefties and work away from right-handers at the plate with his slider, as it has multiple feet of break at times.

Also in the off-speed department for Adams is a curveball. It registers roughly 10-15 miles per hour slower than his slider, and is something he uses to keep batters even more off-balanced, but hasn't found a proper touch to it just yet. Adams also has a changeup that he rarely uses.

There is no bigger critic to Adams' control problems than himself, and is something he's worked hard on to improve. Though the numbers may not show progress, you can see him getting closer and closer to the zone at the top. As he faces tougher competition, he'll need to move his fastball closer to the edges and sometimes find a way to over match batters.

VIDEO : Minor League Baseball

Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

After a prep career that saw a 1.98 ERA as a junior and Third-Team All-Conference honors, Adams went on to struggle in short stints his first two years at USF. In 10 combined innings as a freshman and sophomore, Adams allowed 17 hits and 23 walks, leading to 15 earned runs and a 13.50 ERA.

Everything turned drastically as Adams saw more time on the mound as a junior, where he held a 1.82 ERA in 29.2 innings, walking just 3.03 per nine, while striking out 10.31 per nine innings. In the Big East Championship, Adams picked up three saves in a four-game span with the most impressive being his final outing of the year, where he went two perfect innings and helped lift USF to their first Big East Championship.

Right out of the draft, Adams was sent to the hitter friendly Pioneer League and the numbers showed how true the league can be. By season's end, Adams saw a 5.46 ERA and 1.321 WHIP. However, there were signs of strength as he collected 16 games between July and August where he held a 1.89 ERA and held bats to a .156 average and .517 OPS.

In his sophomore professional season, Adams saw 19 of his 27 outings go scoreless, but for the ones that didn't, they were large run efforts from the opposing teams. Adams finished the year with a 3.98 ERA and 1.326 WHIP. Bats were kept quiet once again though, seeing just a .212 average and .587 OPS.

Adams began the 2014 season in High-A with a 19.1 scoreless steak, while bats saw just a .105 average and .416 OPS. The season didn't go scoreless though as it still saw a stellar 3.79 ERA with 12.1 going down per nine innings against Adams. Adams was named a Cal League All-Star that season, and bats were held quiet, again, with a .141/.352/.215 slash.

Last season, Adams split time between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A, finishing the year with a 3.27 ERA, 1.455 WHIP, and 11.6 K/9 - a career year. Most impressive was Adams' June to July stretch where he allowed one run in 14 outings (21.2 innings). In his minor league career, Adams has held bats to a .180 average and .606 OPS.

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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Despite not receiving a non-roster invite to Spring Training, Adams is a name that will come up often for helping the Angels in 2016. It's likely he'll be shipped to Triple-A Salt Lake, a hitter friendly league, and Adams will be tested at the highest level.

Pending Spring Training or his success in Triple-A, Adams is on the verge of becoming a special arm for the Angels. He fits best as a trade piece due to the blockade ahead of him in the depth charts, but if he does stem through all the names put ahead of him - which he should - he could become one of the better Angels relievers, similar to Trevor Gott in 2015.



For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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