Adams Polishes Craft After Mound Move With Indians
CLEVELAND—Take a quick glance at Austin Adams and there's not much about the 5-foot-10, 190-pound righthander that screams special talent.
Then take some time to watch Adams throw a little bit, and it's easy to see why the Indians converted the former shortstop to a pitcher.
Drafted in the fifth round in 2009 out of Faulkner (Ala.), Adams throws a fastball routinely in the mid-90s and can flash 99 mph on radar guns.
Adams opened the 2011 campaign in the starting rotation at Double- A Akron, just a year and a half after being drafted.
During his first professional experience at short-season Mahoning Valley in 2009, Adams went 3-1, 4.86 in 17 relief appearances as he began to learn the nuances of pitching. Last year as a starter, he split time between low Class A Lake County and high Class A Kinston and began to find his grove. Adams' 2.49 ERA ranked third in the Indians farm system and he struck out 112 batters in as many innings.
"Austin came up last year to Kinston and threw the ball extremely well," said Akron pitching coach Tony Arnold, who served the same role with Kinston last season. "He's along the lines of—and I hate to put names out on people because then people expect them to be that guy—but his makeup and everything is a lot like (Josh) Tomlin.
"He goes about his business very well, he's got a plus fastball and, like Josh, was a shortstop in high school and he's got athleticism around the mound. But he's also very aggressive with his stuff and comes in and goes right after guys."
Indians farm director Ross Atkins agrees the pair have some similarities, but there is one big difference—the heater.
"They're both former shortstops who were converted, both good athletes and they have similar makeup in being disciplined and competitive," Atkins said. "But Austin has a lot more power than Josh, he just doesn't have his feel."
Not yet, at least.
• In his first eight relief outings with Akron, lefthander Nick Hagadone had not allowed a run in 17 innings while striking out 20 batters and issuing just two walk.
• The Pirates returned shortstop Josh Rodriguez to the Indians after selecting him with the first overall pick in December's Rule 5 draft. Rodriguez opened the season in Pittsburgh and went 1-for-12 with a walk and eight strikeouts.