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2017 MLB Draft Profile: Riley Adams, C, University of San Diego

Slugging University of San Diego catcher Riley Adams can’t be ignored in the 2017 MLB Draft

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We are almost done with our series of player profiles for the 2017 MLB Draft. We are back to the college hitting ranks now with a look at University of San Diego catcher Riley Adams.

THE BASICS

Adams is a San Diego native. Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 37th round in 2014, he passed up pro ball and honored his commitment to the University of San Diego Toros. He hit .269/.348/.419 as a freshman in 2015 then improved to .327/.443/.512 as a sophomore in ‘16.

He tore up the Cape Cod League last summer with a .333/.385/.417 line, then continued to mash this spring with a .312/.424/.564 mark, hitting 13 homer with 33 walks and 57 strikeouts in 202 at-bats.

Adams is a right-handed hitter and thrower, listed at 6-4, 225, born June 26th, 1996.

STRENGTHS

Adams can crush the ball, earning 60-minimum raw power grades with some observers giving him a 70. He is a patient hitter and can work a count, goosing his OBP with a solid number of walks. He also has a strong throwing arm: like his power, this earns grades between 60 and 70 depending on the evaluator.

Although quite tall for a catcher he’s a fine athlete and mobile for his size. He’s thrown out 33% of runners trying to steal on him this year while maintaining low passed ball and error rates.

At age 20 he is one of the younger college juniors available. His makeup is also a plus.

WEAKNESSES

Adams’ swing is occasionally long and he strikes out quite a bit, leading to questions about his batting average at higher levels. He hit well with wooden bats in the Cape Cod League although even there his whiff rate (26 in 108 at-bats) was higher than ideal.

While his defensive numbers are decent enough and he is a good athlete, scouts note that both his throwing and receiving are inconsistent. They also worry that his body may not hold up to the rigors of catching at the highest levels.

OVERALL PROJECTION

Adams did enough this spring to move into second round consideration, although a team that believes in his defense and ability to maintain his hitting at higher levels could be tempted to take him in the back half of the first round. Finding catchers who can hit is never easy.