Saturday, March 26, 2011

In His Own Words: Jason Adam

You may not have heard of him yet, but Jason Adam has been turning heads around the game since instructional leagues last fall. With a fastball working in the 92-94 range, a good curve, and a developing changeup the young hometown righty has people in Kansas City excited. He was kind enough to spend about two hours chatting with me (on a Saturday!) and I managed to stay on topic enough to actually ask some questions that you'll hopefully enjoy.

Beware, it's long. So grab your popcorn and read on dear friends, read on.

CiF: "You're a hometown kid, tell me about growing up around the Royals."

Adam: "I always went to their games growing up and I was more of a position player when I was little so I liked Jermaine Dye and all those guys."

CiF: "What positions did you you used to play before becoming a pitcher?"

Adam: "I played a lot of 1st and 3rd. I wanted to be an outfielder but I never had that speed."

CiF: "What made you want to be an outfielder?"

Adam: "I don't know, I love catching fly balls and trying to rob home runs for some reason. Even now, I actually enjoy shagging."

CiF: "Given your love for the outfield, what was it that eventually made you give up hitting and take up pitching - and when did all this happen?"

Adam: "It happened pretty recently. During this whole draft process actually, because if I would of gone to Mizzou I would have had a chance to play some first too. But I realized my future is much brighter as a pitcher and I love having the game in my hands. It's just those four days between starts that I don't like so much."

CiF: "So you played first base throughout high school then?"

Adam: "In the summer I would play first but during the high school season I played third."

CiF: "What was the college recruiting process like? Which schools did you get offers from, and what impacted your choice of Mizzou?"

Adam: "It was pretty stressful for awhile. There was that July 1st date where I got all those phone calls and from there I just started narrowing it down. I had offers from most the schools that are fairly close, but I had kind of narrowed it down to 3 or 4 teams I liked. It came down to Mizzou, Arizona State, Arkansas, or Rice. I just felt like Mizzou was the best for me as far as developing me into a better pitcher. I loved their campus and felt comfortable there because my sister went there."

CiF: "What ultimately made up your mind to go pro?"

Adam: "I felt like it was the best decision to help me as a pitcher. Especially with the Royals and how great they are at developing their players. I knew they wouldn't just throw me out there and forget about me."

CiF: "Without having to name names, do you get the impression that some team do that?"

Adam: "Yeah there were definitely a few teams that I got that impression with, and that I've heard stories about from their players."

CiF: "So it's safe to say that being chosen by the Royals ultimately effected your willingness to sign?"

Adam: "Yes absolutely, that was a huge part of it for me. Regardless of the fact that they are my hometown team."

CiF: "Were there other teams who you had heard good things about as far as player development is concerned that you would've been amiable to signing with? Or was it pretty much Royals or bust?"

Adam: "No there were definitely some other ones, and most teams I would have probably signed with. This was just the situation I was most happy with and I'm incredibly blessed that it worked out like this for me."

CiF: "You didn't get a chance to pitch in game action last year, but you did get work in during instructs. I think the instructional leagues remain a mystery to a lot of fans. Something they hear about, but not something they really understand. Talk us through what a guy goes through during that time of year."

Adam: "It's pretty similar to the way spring training works. We go in and they give us breakfast, we have announcements and then some PFP and then shag for the hitters. If we have a side, we throw it during batting practice. I can't remember if this is right but I think we got Sundays off.. or maybe we got the weekends off."

CiF: "And then there is a game during the day?"

Adam: "Yeah either a game or an intersquad every day."

CiF: "What were some of the key areas of focus that the teams staff had identified for you?"

Adam: "Mainly working on staying back and keeping my shoulder closed a little longer just so I can get more consistent with locating all my pitches."

CiF: "You were more of a drop-and-drive pitcher coming out of high school. But for those who aren't familiar with pitching mechanics, tell us a bit more about precisely what you're trying to do and why."

Adam: Well when I would lift my leg, I'd kind of start to drift forward which means my arm has to try to hurry and catch up so I would leave a lot of pitches high and arm side. Now I'm trying to keep my weight balanced on my back leg before I start driving forward which gives my arm more time and helps me keep a consistent arm slot so I have better control."

CiF: "And by keeping your arm timed better, you can also keep your elbow a bit higher, which helps you stay on top of your pitches. Your curveball in particular..."

Adam: "That is exactly what I was talking to our pitching coach about today. Staying on top of my curveball is huge for me."

CiF: "Again, it's one of those things a lot of fans hear about, but might not understand. Why is it so important for a pitcher to "stay on to of their pitches?""

Adam: "A huge part of it is the angle it comes out at makes it harder to hit, it also makes a curve break sharper and for me it helps command."

CiF: "Now that you're a professional, how has your throwing program changed? What was it like in High School, and what's it like now?"

Adam: "Well in high school it was kind of just long toss and throw however you want, but now they have it more structured and keep us under 150 feet."

CiF: "Is there a reason they try and keep you under 150 feet?"

Adam: "I think it's just to protect our arms, because in the off season we can go further to build up our arm strength."

CiF: "What are your hopes for this first full season? Where are they starting you at?"

Adam: "Well I'm thinking I'll probably have to start out in extended spring training and then hopefully get out of there and start moving through the system."

CiF: "The reports I've seen have you throwing a fastball, curveball, and changeup. Tell us about those pitches. What kinds of fastballs will you throw, and tell us about the grips on your curve and change."

Adam: "I'm all four seams as of right now, they don't really want me worrying about learning a two seam. My curve when its on is a 12-6 that I grip with my middle finger just running along the side of the horseshoe. I'm kind of playing around with my change up going back and forth between a two seam and a four seam, both are circle change grips."

CiF: "I think most people feel your changeup is your third pitch, is it something you've only recently started throwing?"

Adam: "In high school I had a great one that I considered my second pitch but I threw it once all year so I lost it. I just need to get that feel back for it."

CiF: "What was the reason for dropping it from your arsenal?"

Adam: "I felt like in high school it just sped up their bats and if people are behind my fastball I figured, why throw the change up?"

CiF: "Not a horrible strategy."

Adam: "Haha it made sense to me."

CiF: "Ok, well, I think the last question I have for you is one that a reader asked me for. What's your favorite meal at Dave and Busters?"

Adam: "Haha, hmmm. I'll eat anything. The last time I got the bacon cheeseburger but I'm just all about those games in there. I'm definitely a 5 year old at heart."

Corey Ettinger is a Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as a proud contributor to both,, and He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery.

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