Not many NAIA pitchers sit in the 91-95 mph range with their fastballs as starting pitchers, as Austin Adams does for Faulkner (Ala.).
And not many do it while hitting third for their club, as Adams does. When he’s not starting or playing shortstop, Adams often closes for Faulkner, with reports of him hitting 98 mph and sitting at 93-96 with a power breaking ball in the low 80s when he comes in as a reliever.
So why did Adams get rocked Wednesday by Auburn-Montgomery in the first game of the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament? Adams took the loss in a 10-7 defeat. He didn’t last through the fourth inning, giving up 10 hits and eight runs (seven earned). The loss, his first of the season, dropped him to 5-1, 4.85 overall.
Adams’ pitching season may be over, and as a senior, his college pitching career may have ended. He has given up 47 hits in 43 innings this season, walking 21 and striking out just 39. He’s a 5-foot-10 righthander, and frankly scouts don’t know what to make of Adams. With his quality stuff, he should be dominating NAIA competition, but he hasn’t.
Part of that reason is Adams’ inexperience on the mound. He’s a prospect as a hitter, and the Brewers made him a 27th-round pick last year as a shortstop. He has obvious arm strength and solid infield actions, but as a pitcher, he’s a rarity, a raw-armed college senior with big stuff.
"He’s what player development is about," a National League scout said Wednesday. "He has the kind of arm that is hard to find, and he might really improve by going full-time to the mound."
Adams’ coach, Brent Barker, said Adams had attracted plenty of interest, and Adams figures he’ll be a single-digit pick as a budget college senior if nothing else. He just might be more than a bargain.
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