In the 5th round of the 2010 draft, the Royals picked local talent Jason Adam. He has steadily moved up through the farm system and looks to start the 2013 season in AA. While at spring training, I was able to see him pitch and had a short interview with him.
Jason went to Blue Valley Northwest and here is a write up by Bob Stalder at Pine Tar Press shortly after the selection:
With the fifth pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, the Royals have selected Jason Adam, a local prospect out of Blue Valley Northwest. Adam is 6′ 4″ and around 225 with a blazing fastball. He was named a 2009 East Kansas League All-Star and a 2009 All Sun Baseball Team honorable mention last season. He has a lot of room to grow and can improve his power dramatically over the next couple of seasons in the minors. The consensus amongst most baseball scouts was that Adam would be a second round selection, so the Royals may have caught a huge break by him falling to the fifth round and can get him to sign.
To start the 2011 season, he went to low-A (Kane County) where he posted a 4.23 ERA with a 3.0 K/BB ratio. After the season, he started to make several of the Royals top 10 prospect list. Baseball-Prospectus ranked him as the 10th highest prospect in the system and stated the following:
Adam received glowing reports out of fall instructs and spring training, but Midwest League observers were wondering where the stuff went....While Adam was showing plus-plus velocity and touching 98 in Arizona, it never showed in Kane County. There, Adam showed good control of an average to plus heater that topped out at 92-93. He gets good spin on his curveball. He was forced to work on his changeup in games, and improvement came throughout the year.
In 2012, He moved up to high-A (Wilmington) where he showed some improvement by lowering his ERA to 3.53 and increasing his K/BB to 3.4. After last season, he made all the top prospect lists Craig "THE Boss" Brown was able to pull together. He averaged out as the 9th highest prospect after removing Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi. Baseball Prospectus stated the following about his 2012 season and his prospects for 2013:
Opting for slow and steady rather than slick and sexy, Adam spent the entire season grinding it out in the Carolina League, logging innings and using a three-pitch mix to limit damage. ... Adam will move to the Texas League, where his solid-average stuff will be put to the test by better bats in offense-friendly environments. He will need to continue to work lower in the zone, establishing his fastball and using his two secondary offerings to induce weak contact from poor, unbalanced swings. He is unlikely to miss a high number of bats with the current arsenal, but he has the potential to tick up a bit, with a smooth delivery and excellent arm strength.
With the preceding background information, here is a look at his outing from a exactly one week ago:
He threw the best of any of the minor leaguers I saw. His fastball was just over 90 mph and doesn't have a ton of movement. His curve seemed to be his out pitch and was able to fool a few of the hitters with it. Also, he seemed to have a bit of an issue finding the strike zone. Finally, he mechanics were smooth with a repeatable delivery.
He seems very Brian Banister-ish. Good pitcher, but not a great pitches. He will really need to pitch near the edges and not just throw across the heart of the plate to continue to move up. He may need to add a pitch with a little more movement on it like a cutter to be successful in the majors.
A couple hours after pitching, I was able to have short interview with Mr. Adam
JZ: Have you always been a fan of the Royals?
JA: I grew up 20 minutes from the stadium. I have been a huge fan as long as I can remember. So going through the draft process, I would have been ecstatic just to get the chance to play. I have always had a special place in my heart for the Royals. The Royals called my name and I can't even describe the feeling. Unbelievable.
JZ: How has your first couple of seasons gone?
JA: They have been the best I could possibly imagine. My performance has been up and down. I would like to perform better. I always want that. The way they [the Royals] treat me and every single guy doesn't compare to any other organization.
JZ: Have you heard which level you will be assigned to this year?
JA: I don't know. My goal is to make the next step and go to AA. I just have to go out there and control what I can control.
JZ: How much do they have you throwing right now?
JA: They have us on a pitch count. Today, they had me at 60. Last week was 45. I am not sure if I am going to stay at 60 or go up.
JZ: If you do make to the Royals, how many tickets will you need?
JA: Oh my gosh, I might sell out the place by myself. It's going to be my immediate family, all my friends, it will be an experience for a dream come true.
Nothing about Jason's game will have people "Uhing" and "Ahing". Each time he pitches, he is going to need to grind out a each start. With a little improvement on his pitches and little luck, he will hopefully be pitching in Kauffman Stadium within a year or two. Then, we will see if he is able to sell out the stadium with all his friends and family. Good luck Jason.