SURPRISE, Ariz. — Jason Adam grew up rooting for the Royals, going to games at Kauffman Stadium and even spending a couple spring breaks in Surprise, Ariz., watching the Royals in spring training.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound righthander from Blue Valley Northwest High in Overland Park, Kan. was a fifth-round draft pick by his hometown Royals this spring, signing for $800,000 to keep him away from his commitment to Missouri.
Adam did not play this summer after signing, instead making his pro debut in the instructional league. On Oct. 11, he threw three impressive innings against the Indians.
"I felt pretty good," Adam said. "I've had better outings, but it definitely felt like I had decent command of the ball and I was able to get most of my pitches over for strikes, so I was happy."
This was Adam's fourth outing in the instructional league, including one intersquad appearance.
"I like to get ahead with my fastball, it's one of my best pitches," Adam said. "And then, if my curveball is on—which it has been for me lately, which I'm liking—then I like to use that with two strikes to kind of put guys away. It's something they aren't able to hit, but it's close enough to a strike that they have to swing."
The first pitch out of his hand was clocked at 97 mph, but he settled in at 91-94. He drove his fastball down in the zone and mixed in a 79-80 mph curveball with some nice bite and an 84 mph changeup.
"I haven't always been able to do that, but it's been very important to me, ever since I've been pitching," Adam said about keeping his fastball down in the zone. "Because, when I leave it up, it gets crushed. It's flatter up high. When I keep it low, I get ground balls and swinging misses."
Althought Adam looked sharp in today's outing, he is still working on a few things mechanically and needs better consistency with his secondary pitches.
"Staying on top of the ball has been huge for me," Adam said. "Just getting ahead with that first-pitch strike and, with my curveball, I have a tendency to drop my elbow and it gets flat and that's when it falls and gets hit."
Adam said he was thrilled when the Royals drafted him this year.
"It's the hometown team, so it doesn't get any better than that, for sure," he said. "I can't wait for spring training, to kind of walk around with the big-name guys. It's going to be surreal for a little while, but hopefully I'll come in and get the job done."
Indians righthander Kyle Blair sat at 88-91 mph with a 75-79 mph slider that he threw for strikes. . . Royals outfielder Brett Eibner roped a double off Blair that nearly missed being a home run. . . Royals righthander Robinson Yambati threw his fastball in the 90-91 mph range. He did reach back for a 94, but it was a ball. . . Indians righthander Tony Dischler was 89-92 with an 80-82 mph changeup and 77-79 mph curveball. . . Two raw, but interesting, 18-year-old righthanders for the Indians included Manuel Carmona, who was sitting 92-95 and Luis Encarnacion, who was 90-93, but neither showed much in the way of secondary offerings. . . Royals outfielder Darian Sandford opened some eyes when he scored from second base on a passed ball.