After being drafted in the second round of the 2006 draft, Ryan Adams made a good impression with the organization. Despite having his final high school season shortened by Hurrican Katrina, Adams showed a mature approach and posted a .263/.374/.408 batting line across two levels of short-season play.
"The atmosphere was, and is, a lot better [in Aberdeen]. The field conditions are a lot better here. We even got a lot of fans," Adams told Inside The Warehouse. "So when you come out here, when you feel tired, those kinds of things pick you up and help you get through the days, especially when you play every day."
Coming straight from high school, Adams wasn't completely prepared for life as a professional.
"The biggest thing was adjusting to playing every day."
In addition, Adams had to acclimate to playing a new position. A shortstop as an amateur, concerns about his arm and range resulted in Adams immediately shifting to second base. His range is still a little suspect for a middle infielder, but he makes up for it with great hand-eye coordination, a quick release, and gobbling up almost everything near him.
"At first, I was used to playing shortstop my whole career up to this point. I was a lot more comfortable at shortstop, but I've gotten used to it now that I've played at second for a year and half," Adams spoke of the move. "We're playing everyday and getting a lot work before every game, so I'm getting used to that now."
Defense may not turn out to be Adams' strongest point as he rises through the Orioles' minor league system, but Ironbirds Manager Andy "Etch" Etchebarren spoke well of his young infielder, "[Adams'] range is good and he's got a good arm." With the hand-eye coordination he has, many expect him to turn out to be a plus average hitter with gap power. However, Ryan will be the first to tell you that he's not trying to improve on any specific part of his game.
"I wouldn't say there's one part that needs to get better than the other."
Etch also had some input on what he felt Adams needs to do.
"He's a young kid. He just needs to learn how to play baseball and situations in the game."
His hitting has struggled this year and one of the emphases from last year was to cut down on the strikeouts. That hasn't happened yet this year, as Adams has struck out 25 times in his first 21 games. The lack of contact has led to a disappointing .256/.315/.317 batting line in his full-season debut.
Perhaps receiving advice from big league catcher Ramón Hernandez, who played with the Ironbirds during a three game rehabilitation assignment, will help Adams get his bat going.
"It helped tremendously. It [was] just nice talking to him, just being around somebody like him. Everything he [said] you really listen to because at the end of the day hearing that stuff helps you."
The road ahead for Adams to reunite with Hernandez may be a long one, but he has the talent and the tools to succeed wherever he plays. One thing that is clear is Adam's determination to reach his considerable ceiling.
"I want to be that complete player."
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