This past Friday the Washington Nationals promoted right-handed pitcher Austin L. Adams to the major league roster. He’s not to be confused with the 30-year-old Austin D. Adams who is currently on the disabled list in Triple-A with the Los Angeles Angels.
To maximize the confusion, Austin L. Adams is originally a product of the Angels organization. Let’s take a look at what the now-Nationals version of Adams can do.
The Angels drafted Austin L. Adams in the eighth round in 2012 from the University of South Florida. An effective reliever during his junior year (1.95 ERA, 34/10 K/BB in 28 innings, four saves) he stayed in that role in the Angels system and quickly showed a knack for both strikeouts and command issues.
He fanned 80 in just 59 innings of A-ball in 2014 but walked 53. In 2016 he posted a 3.05 ERA in 44 innings in Double-A with a 63/24 K/BB and just 30 hits allowed. The Nationals traded Danny Espinosa to the Angels for Adams in December 2016.
Adams was rated as a Grade C+ prospect pre-season, and would have been the 21st man on the Washington Nationals Top 20 prospects for 2017 list. So far in 2017 Adams has a 2.50 ERA in 36 innings in Triple-A with a 53/29 K/BB and just 29 hits allowed.
Listed at 6-2, 225, Adams was born May 5th, 1991 in Tampa, Florida. He throws hard, with a 93-97 MPH fastball and a plus slider. He lacks a reliable off-speed pitch and his overall command is very erratic; his profile has changed very little since college. He racks up the strikeouts and gives up few hits, but his walk rate is too high for comfort.
No one expects him to become Greg Maddox, but even small and gradual improvements in his control would make Adams a valuable bullpen asset.