Q&A with Rangers 16th round pick Trever Adams

In two seasons at Creighton University, outfielder Trever Adams compiled a .372 batting average with 26 home runs. The senior helped lead the Bluejays to a conference title and an NCAA Regional berth this season. Lone Star Dugout interviews the Rangers' 16th round pick.

Outfielder Trever Adams recently became the fifth Creighton product to join the Texas Rangers' organization since 2006, and the third in the last three years. The other Bluejays were pitcher Adam Schaecher (2006), C Chris Gradoville (2007), IF Vicente Cafaro (2009) and C Carson Vitale (2010).

Adams was selected by the Rangers in the 16th round of the 2011 MLB Draft earlier this week. It was a nice reward for an excellent two seasons of production in Omaha.

After beginning his career at Hutchinson CC in Kansas, Adams moved on to Creighton for his junior and senior campaigns. The 6-foot-0 outfielder wasn't drafted as a junior despite leading the Bluejays in batting average (.356), home runs (12), RBI (58), and walks (29).

The 22-year-old was even better as a senior, flirting with a .400 batting average for most of the year. Even though he fell off late, Adams still posted a .387/.465/.665 slash line with 14 doubles, 14 homers, 57 RBI, and 15 stolen bases in 18 attempts.

As Adams mentions below, he felt he was often overly aggressive as a junior and wanted to cut down on his strikeout totals. He was able to do that, shrinking his strikeout rate from 22.2 percent to 15.2 percent.

The Lincoln, Neb., native also helped his club to a major turnaround at Creighton this season. After posting a disappointing 27-25 mark and missing the NCAA postseason in 2010, the Bluejays went 45-16 this year, sweeping the Missouri Valley Conference's regular season and tournament titles. Their season ended last weekend after going 1-2 in the Corvallis regional, competing against Oregon State and Georgia.

As a college senior, Adams is expected to sign his professional contract as soon as he gets an opportunity. He should spend the summer playing with the short-season Spokane Indians, where he will work in the outfield and could also see some action at first base.

Jason Cole: What are your thoughts on getting drafted by the Rangers earlier today?

Trever Adams: I thought it was pretty cool. I actually was watching the draft on my computer. I was kind of just hanging around. I was actually kind of dozing off a little bit, and then I heard my name. It was pretty cool. I was waiting around. Everybody dreams of getting drafted, and everybody dreams of playing pro ball. My time has finally come. I was just really excited.

Cole: This was the first time you've been drafted, correct?

Adams: Yes.

Cole: You played at Creighton under Ed Servais, who is the uncle of Rangers minor league director Scott Servais. I know Scott played at Creighton as well. Were you able to meet him during your time on campus?

Adams: Not my senior year. During my junior year, he came and talked to our whole team kind of at the end of the season. It was before the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. But as a senior, he never came and visited.

Cole: You're about to become the fifth Creighton product to join the Rangers' organization since 2006 and the third in the last three years. Given all that, do you know much about the system?

Adams: I've become pretty close to Chris Gradoville this spring, actually. Me and him have talked quite a bit. He said it's a great ride and told me to enjoy it while it lasts. He said you'll never know when your last year is going to be. Also, I'm pretty good friends with Carson Vitale, who was drafted last year––the catcher. I'm kind of familiar with the Rangers' organization and how things operate in spring training.

What's funny is that in the regional we just played, we played Georgia twice. And I got to see Zach Cone play both of the times. I know he was one of the Rangers' first-round picks. That was pretty interesting to see, too.

Cole: You grew up in Nebraska, and I know there are some Royals fans, some Cubs fans, and even some Twins fans in the area. Did you grow up rooting for a particular team?

Adams: My dad is from the St. Louis area. We were kind of big Cardinals fans, so that's who we rooted for and who I rooted for. Over the last few years, I haven't really rooted for teams. I've more so started to like just individual players. I like a lot of the Yankees' players, and I actually like a lot of the Rangers' players too. Once it comes to playoff time, I just like to watch and there's not really a team that I'm a diehard fan for.

Cole: You didn't start your career at Creighton, but you played your last two years there and had a great deal of success. Looking back on your last two years in Omaha, what were your thoughts?

Adams: It's funny because the last four years are kind of split up. My first two years of college––I thought they were the best two years of my life. And they really were. And then these other two years at Creighton hit. They have kind of all slurred together. It has been a great journey. Creighton and Omaha was awesome. I wouldn't go back and change my decision for anything––going to a different conference or a Big 12 school or some of the other schools I talked to.

After these two years, I don't think you could get me to trade that in for anything. It was awesome. I became really close with the coaches. We had a great team this year. We struggled a little bit last year, but we battled through it and we had a great group of seniors this year. They really were the glue of the team this year that just kind of got us to the postseason––got us into the tournament––and we had a lot of help from some underclassmen. I wouldn't have traded it in for anything.

Cole: As you mentioned, you guys had the big turnaround and your performance was surely a big part of that. How did you feel about your individual performance this year?

Adams: The difference between my junior and senior year––me and coach decided that it wasn't really numbers-wise that I needed to work on. We knew that the numbers were going to be there. Really, we decided the most individual thing I needed to do was to try and work on having a little more of a keen eye at the plate––so I wouldn't strike out as much. And I did. I ended up making that adjustment.

But the biggest adjustment was more so stepping up into a leadership role and really showing guys how to be good teammates––showing guys how to help the team win versus coming to the park just trying to get everything done individually. That's not how Creighton works.

In junior college ball, everybody takes care of themselves, gets their stuff done, and if everybody takes care of that, then you're going to win the game. Obviously Creighton is more centered strictly around the team. And that was the biggest adjustment I had to make.

I knew the numbers were going to be there––I was really happy with the numbers that I put up. I kind of went down a little at the end just because I wasn't really getting pitched to. I was getting pitched around a lot, and I really had to pick something close to the zone and put a good swing on it. It was a little frustrating at the end, but we made it work and we ended up winning a lot of games at the end of the season.

Cole: The new bats in college baseball don't pack nearly as much punch as the old aluminum bats did. How much easier––if at all––do you think that will make your transition to wood bats in the pro game?

Adams: To be honest––in some of the interviews I did with the NCAA and with NET––our local sports broadcast that does a lot of our games––I actually told them that, when these bats came out––I obviously liked swinging the old aluminum bats more than wood.

But this year, the change––I swung with wood just about any time I got a chance to because I just like swinging with wood a lot better. I just really don't like the new bats. I feel like a good wood bat has just as much pop as a normal aluminum one does. These ones just didn't even compare. I think TPX lost quite a bit of money this year just from our school because we went through bats this year like crazy. They would just keep breaking and breaking because they couldn't figure out the BBCOR stuff.

Obviously the difference between the BBCOR and the regular aluminum is a lot closer to wood, and it's going to resemble the wood bat game. I think we saw that with how the game changed this year. The power numbers went way down, the home runs went way down, and everybody learned how to move runners over with a bunt or with a hit-and-run game.

Honestly, being at Creighton, I like how the game changed because it fit how we play the game. It's definitely going to help making the change to a professional career when you swing wood bats every day. You've got to be able to handle the bat.

Cole: It seems that under Ed Servais, Creighton has always been among the national leaders in sacrifice bunts.

Adams: Yeah, and that's one thing that coach hinted at a lot. He said, ‘The game is changing, and it's changing to our style of ball.' We had bats last year where just about anybody could hit 10-to-15 home runs in a season, and we still knew what our roles were––we knew if we were a bunt guy, a hit-and-run guy, a gap-to-gap guy. This year, it became all the more apparent that everybody had to settle in to that with these bats. Coach definitely likes the change, that's for sure.

Cole: You guys got to play a few games in the new College World Series stadium in downtown Omaha. How was that stadium and what was the experience like?

Adams: The first time we walked in there––for the open house on the night before the game on the 19th against Nebraska––it was cold those first two nights there, but it was unbelievable. We looked like 10-year-olds walking into Busch Stadium or Yankee Stadium. It's a pretty phenomenal place. They've got batting cages under the stadium right next to your locker room, swing rooms outside the dugout, and it's just pretty cool.

Cole: Like any Nebraskan, I'm sure you understand and appreciate what Rosenblatt Stadium was about. But how nice was it to play in a park that had the updated facilities and amenities?

Adams: Yeah, I did get the chance to play in Rosenblatt during my first year here. It was still a nice park. You could just tell––from the outside, the look. And then you get inside and saw the field. You could just tell that, like you said, it was getting a little outdated. It needed a little updating, and they decided to build a new one versus renovate it.

I know people have mixed feelings, just hearing the buzz around Omaha. They said Rosenblatt––you can't replace it. They didn't really want to leave it. But then, they set foot in the new stadium and they were like, ‘Okay, this is how you should watch a baseball game versus how Rosenblatt was.' It's a tradition. It's always going to be remembered.

It's funny because, before the park actually opened, everybody was just calling the park ‘New Rosenblatt' versus T.D. Ameritrade. I don't know if that's going to stick or not. The guys on the team just shortened it and said they were going to head down to ‘T.D.' We didn't really say ‘New Rosenblatt' or anything. It's going to be interesting to see what the buzz around Omaha is when the College World Series is here in a couple weeks. I know they're not going to be unhappy, that's for sure.

Cole: Being from Lincoln, did you ever go to College World Series games while growing up?

Adams: Yeah, I went to a few. Because of summer ball, it was hard to get up to some games. But once I got to high school, my summer legion team would always get some tickets to go up there from our coach. I don't know if he knew some guys or what, but we'd always get some tickets to go sit in the outfield bleachers. I got to go to a handful of games. I'm not going to say I was there for every game. But I got to experience the whole thing––sitting out and baking in the sun.

Cole: Did you grow up as a Husker fan?

Adams: Honestly, yeah, I grew up as a Husker fan. I still am a Husker football fan. I really was a Husker baseball fan. I stopped following when I got to college. In high school, I was a real big fan during my senior year when Alex Gordon was there––just because he's from my high school. We followed them a lot. You like to brag about guys that went to your high school, and obviously Gordo went with the third pick overall. So yeah, I followed them quite a bit that year. And then when I got to college, it was kind of just like the pro teams––I liked individual guys but didn't really root for anybody. But Husker football––I'm still a pretty big fan just being from Lincoln.

Cole: You were listed as a left fielder when the Rangers drafted you. What was your primary position at Creighton?

Adams: Last year, I played in left field every game and this year I played right field every game. And actually, this last summer, I played center field just about every game in Mankato. So I've played all three within the last year and a half.

I talked to the guy tonight, and he said they had drafted me as a left fielder. That's not going to be a problem. It's just another corner outfield position––just a little different read off the bat from right, obviously. I was fine out there last year.

He also said that they were going to possibly look at me at first base, because I actually played first base in the fall here at Creighton during both years, as well. They said they were going to look at me there, too. It'll be interesting to see what exactly they're going to have me do.

Cole: You've touched on the improvements you made to your plate approach between the last two seasons. But can you describe your overall plate approach? What kind of hitter do you see yourself as?

Adams: I guess I'd like to call myself an aggressive hitter but also a smart hitter. I consider myself pretty good at getting on the same page as what the pitcher is doing, what his tendencies are, and guessing locations versus pitches. I consider myself to do that pretty well.

I guess I just kind of assume that a strike is going to be thrown to me, and I get ready to swing. That's my approach versus someone going to the plate thinking that a strike will be thrown on the outside part or just being too specific and then thinking too much. It's simplified to an extreme, but I think that's part of the reason why I've had so much success––because I'm not really thinking too much.

Cole: You were a senior this year. I'm assuming that means you'll definitely be signing.

Adams: Yeah, I am. I'm definitely going to sign. I'm definitely going to look over the contract and stuff and see what they want to do, where I'm going to go, and what all needs to be paid for. I know he said he's going to call me back tomorrow after the draft is officially over, and then we'll talk about money, where I'm going, how I'm getting out there, and things like that. We'll figure that out tomorrow night and then he'll be up here later this week to get me signed. But yeah, I'm definitely going to sign.

Cole: Given your experience level and success, I'm assuming you'll be playing with Spokane this summer. Have you talked about that with the Rangers yet?

Adams: I actually just talked to Carson Vitale a little bit. I asked him what he thought I would do––whether he thought I would head down to Arizona. Me and Jonas (Dufek) were talking about the rookie ball league, and he was thinking that he would go to Florida for the Astros, which is where their rookie ball league is. And I was like, ‘Do you think they're going to send us to rookie ball, being seniors?' Obviously he was in the ninth round.

I talked to Carson, and Carson said he thought that I would go out to Spokane in short season with the Rangers. He informed me a little bit of it. I'm just excited to get a new uniform, start a new chapter, and like I said earlier, I like swinging wood bats, too.

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