I assure you I won’t be doing these sorts of reports on everybody the Jays will pick on Day Two of the draft — and that, in fact, this is probably the last one of these I’m going to devote to an individual player (I imagine I’ll do a roundup of day two once it’s complete, though) — but what the hell: another athletic catcher!
And perhaps a pretty good one to find in this portion of the draft, too, as Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs has him ranked as the 56th best prospect available. He explains:
Adams has rare power for a catcher and plus pure arm strength but he’s huge and a clumsy defender that may not stay behind the plate. He also has some swing and miss issues caused by lever length, but if he can remain at catcher the hit/power combination could carry him to everyday duty.
Oh, right, and here are some tweets:
#BlueJays Rd. 3 (99) –
C Riley Adams: Big, big catcher at 6-5, 215lbs. Lots of raw power to tap into.
And… He's a black belt in karate
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) June 13, 2017
With their past two picks, the #BlueJays have gone from having lots of prospect catching depth to tons of it. An increasingly athletic group— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) June 13, 2017
Some scouts actually had Riley Adams tabbed as the top catching prospect in the draft, so the potential is there. Just gotta refine #Jays
— VJ (@TheRealVJ24) June 13, 2017
And obligatory video:
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As to the idea of Adams being potentially one of the best catchers in the draft, Melissa Lockhard of 2080 Baseball suggested as much when she went to speak to him a couple weeks ago. She also referenced a piece 2080 had done earlier in the season:
At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Adams is built more like a first baseman or right fielder than a catcher. His height hasn’t prevented him from developing into a solid defensive backstop, however. 2080 Baseball’s Ryan Ozella evaluated Adams earlier this season and observed that, despite his height, Adams “keeps a low target with a soft receiving hand and shows the ability to frame balls higher in the zone. He moves well laterally and is quick to smother and block balls into the dirt.” Ozella also noted that Adams showed above-average arm strength from behind the plate.
Kirk Kenney of Baseball America gives us an interesting fact about Adams’ abilities at the plate:
Offensively, Adams displays above average power and a good sense of the strike zone. Adams has been putting up better numbers than any USD player not named Kris Bryant, who hit a school-record 31 homers with 62 RBIs in 2013 on the way to being named College Player of the Year.
In early May, Adams was hitting .323/.441/.581 with 11 home runs.
That’ll play! And though there are questions about Adams’ contact skills, as noted by (among others) Keith Law, Law had Adams at 89 on his board, and suggested he’d go on day one.
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.
So… that’s pretty good, right?