Part two of this installment features another one of the five players the New York Yankees recently added to the 40-man roster to protect from the Rule V draft.
The 24-year-old second baseman has missed a lot of time, but made most of the time he has played.
The Yankees added him to the 40-man roster, but will he see playing time with the big club in 2012?
All the way back in 2005 Adams was ranked the No. 67 overall prospect in the draft coming out of high school in Boca Raton, but he fell all the way to the 21st round (630th overall) because of a strong commitment to the University of Virginia. He did not sign with the Detroit Tigers and went on to college where he was supposed to play 3rd base, but wound up playing every game at 2nd base as a freshman and hit .318/.403/.448. He improved his sophomore year hitting .372/.454/.522 and really caught scouts' attention in the Cape Cod League that summer where he hit extremely well with a wood bat posting a .302 average while leading the league in doubles. Adams had garnered 1st round buzz after that, but faltered in his junior year hitting .286/.384/.411 and wound up being drafted by the New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft and signed for a bonus of $333,000.
After signing Adams was sent to the New York-Penn League where he played 67 games and had okay results hitting .257/.350/.393 while showing decent speed and plate discipline. He had a far better year in 2009 split between LoA and HiA in his first full season, hitting a combined .286/.373/.443 with 7 homers and 75 RBIs. All 7 home runs came during the second half of the year during his time in HiA. His SB% decreased, but he once again demonstrated good plate discipline. He carried that late season magic over to Double-A in 2010 and went off with .309/.393/.507 line over his first 39 games. When he went down with a sprained right ankle in May of 2010 the injury was supposed to be "not severe" and keep him out "just two weeks—maybe more". Adams remained sideline for two months before they realized he actually had a broken foot/ankle. The injury was so severe he wound up only playing in 29 games in 2011 split between Rookie Ball and the FSL. He did hit in that limited action going .370/.421/.509 with 12 doubles and 15 RBIs.
Summary: The dude can hit, the ankle injury has just been a killer in his development.
Gifted with a great eye at the plate, Adams was voted the best plate discipline in the Yankee system by Baseball America last year. He has limited bat movement and pre-swing hand load to go along with a short compact swing that allows him to turn on the inside pitch. He will never hit a lot of home runs, but should produce a good amount of doubles. Would not classify him as great defensively, but he makes plays and his 4.72 range factor and .983% fielding percentage would make him a league average 2nd baseman. Also not a burner, but he is smart enough to steal 5-8 bases annually.
With Robinson Cano holding down 2nd base their obviously is not any space for Adams right now. And unless the Yankees move Eduardo Nunez they probably won't have much need for a backup middle infielder in 2012. Assuming Adams stays healthy he should be up by September at the very least and if anyone gets hurt or moved he could be up before that. He has enough skill to hold down a bench spot on a roster and could probably be a borderline starter on a bad team, which could make him a possible trade chip (He was wanted for Cliff Lee at one point).