Mark Duncan/Associated Press
DOB: 08/19/1986 (Age: 28)
Height/Weight: 5'11", 190 pounds
Drafted: Fifth Round, 2009 (Faulkner State College, AL)
Forget what you see in his stat line as a major league reliever; Austin Adams has the tools to be a legitimate power arm in the back end of the Indians bullpen.
Adams isn't your prototypical prospect.
First, Adams is 28 years old—a rather old age to have made his pro debut this season. Second, he's a converted starter—the result of a shoulder injury—with only two seasons of full-time relief work under his belt.
Despite all that, Adams has a relatively high ceiling as a late-innings reliever.
Adams' throwing motion is fluid and features a loose, powerful arm action—a large reason for his mid- to high-90s fastball velocity. Adams' motion is also very repeatable thanks to its simplicity and his athleticism.
The Faulkner State College product has a deep repertoire—thanks largely in part to his time spent as a starting pitcher—and features a plus fastball as well as a changeup and curveball, which both have the chance to be at least average offerings.
Adams' slider is also an intriguing pitch, but at times, it flattens out and lacks the tilt needed to be a swing-and-miss offering while facing big league hitters.
Adams' time as a reliever has been full of success. In his two seasons of relief work—2013 and 2014—Adams has managed a 2.56 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP while averaging 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings, 3.7 walks per nine innings and a 2.84 K/BB ratio.
Though he's been less than adequate in three of his four appearances with the club, Adams is likely to stay throughout the remainder of the 2014 season as well as the 2015 season, where he could be a key piece to the success of the bullpen.
Projection: Late-Innings Reliever