Baseball America ranked right-hander Jason Adam as the Kansas City Royals eighth best prospect heading into the 2012 season. 2012 was just his second professional season, after spending 2011 in Low-A Kane County.
It was a tough season for the local kid who grew up a Royals fan and went to high school just a few miles from Kauffman Stadium. Adam was in High-A for the first time, but struggled to pick up victories due to a lack of run support (he went 1-9 in the first half).
Not sure if that frustrated him, but then he began to struggle. In May and June, he of course went winless, but allowed 31 runs (12 homeruns) in 60 innings. Adam only walked ten in those ten starts, but allowed 64 hits.
Adam’s second half was a lot better (6-3 with a 3.24 ERA), though I was shocked he wasn’t shut down. Even when I interviewed him, he was sure he would have an innings limit. In his final two regular season starts, he allowed just one run over 12 combined innings. In the Carolina League Divisional Series, he pitched into the 8th inning and picked up the win (7IP, 5H, 2R, ER, 3BB, 4K).
JJ Picollo, the Royals assistant general manager, saw a lot of good things out of Adam in 2012:
“I consider that adversity to be a plus,” Picollo said. “A young pitcher could easily have gotten frustrated … he’s big, strong and durable. There’s still ceiling and, with his work ethic, he’s going to reach that ceiling.”
I saw a good amount of Adam with Wilmington in 2012 and not having a legitimate third pitch hurt him. He relied too heavily on his curveball as his out pitch and most hitters knew it was coming. He also allowed way too many homeruns (18) in a pitcher’s league and in his ballpark (where power hitters go to die).
In his second professional season, Adam threw 167 innings, 63 more than in 2011. That is more than normally advised, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Royals held him back in extended spring training in 2013 before sending him to Double-A. However, Adam takes pride in his conditioning and has yet to have arm issues (knock on wood), so he could be in NW Arkansas’ rotation when the season opens in April. He mentioned when I interviewed him that he needed to be more consistent to earn a promotion. Well, he did that at the end of 2012 so Naturals fans should enjoy watching him in 2013.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star ranks Adam as the Royals 9th best prospect. MLB.com has Adam coming in at thirteen.