2015 IBI Preview Capsules: RHP Austin Adams
Adams offers Cleveland a solid bullpen option with a little upside in 2015
Austin Adams, RHP
Throws: Right -- Bats: Right -- Entering his age-28 season -- Contract: Pre-arbitration player (under team control through 2021, on track for arbitration eligibility in 2018)
2014 Overview: After missing all of the 2012 season following shoulder surgery, Adams has been back on track over the past two years, culminating with his major league debut on July 12, 2014. Adams’ 7.0 major league innings did not go particularly well, but the right-hander is still a depth arm in the conversation for time in Cleveland in 2015.
Versus Right-handers: Against right-handers over the past two seasons in the minors, Adams pitched quite a bit like Max Scherzer out of the bullpen. Right-handed batters struck out a little over 28 percent of the time against Adams while only walking roughly seven percent, which is the kind of strikeout-to-walk ratio that should translate well to the majors. Combined with Adams’ .552 OPS in that time against righties, the right-hander appears to be someone who will be able to neutralize same-handed batters at the major league level.
Versus Left-handers: Adams’ strikeout rate in the minors over the past two seasons stayed the same against lefties, hovering around 28.0 percent, but the right-hander’s walks take a jump against opposite-hand batters. Though Adams improved in 2014, the right-hander still walked over 13 percent of left-handers in 2013 and 2014, which contributed to his .716 OPS against them. Adams’ high-strikeout, high-walk combination against left-handers may be worse than his performance against right-handers, but it can work. Trevor Rosenthal was effective in 2014 while putting up the same strikeout and walk rates against all batters that Adams put up against lefties; walking that many batters is not ideal, but as Rosenthal’s performance shows, it can work.
Pitch Mix: During his major league debut, Adams showed off the mid-90s fastball that makes him interesting going forward. Relievers who can average over 96 miles per hour on a fastball will get chances in the majors, and while Adams is still looking to find success in Cleveland, that fastball will certainly help. Adams also threw a slider in his major league time -- throwing it roughly 25 percent of the time to go with around 75 percent fastballs -- with both pitches coming in hard and fast.
Fantasy Impact: Adams is not guaranteed to start the 2015 season in the majors -- making him hard to own in fantasy leagues -- but he is an interesting reliever to keep an eye on in deep leagues. The right-hander has the classic late-inning profile in his high-velocity fastball-slider one-two punch, but right now, Adams is far enough removed from any save (or even hold) chances that there are plenty of other options fantasy players should look to ahead of the right-hander.
Summary: Though Adams’ major league debut could have gone better, but overall, the right-hander took steps forward in 2014. Time will tell if Adams’ concerted effort to limit his walks will pay off in the long run -- the lower walk total was also accompanied by a lower strikeout rate -- but even if the walks come back, the right-hander will still have some value. At the very least, Adams should be a solid option to have as the seventh man in the bullpen or as one of the first arms up from Columbus, but given his raw stuff, the right-hander has some nice upside to go with a solid floor.
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He needs to take another step forward this year and not plateau or he'll be a AAAA type pitcher. My guess is McAllister ends up in the pen and Adams in Columbus. They're both similar pitchers, although much different in size obviously.
Slotting McAllister in the pen would certainly relieve those concerns, but I'm not convinced McAllister won't win the last slot in the rotation.
I'm a big fan.. Thoughts?...