As we continue our tour of the top prospects across the Chicago baseball landscape this afternoon, we take a look at Chicago White Sox #7 prospect, Spencer Adams.
The Chicago White Sox second round pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft, Spencer Adams has risen to the number seven spot on the White Sox list of top prospects, and that’s saying something considering the stock-pile of pitching talent that they have acquired as of late.
Adams, 20, was selected by the White Sox in 2014 out of White County HS in Cleveland, GA and has spent the last two-and-a-half seasons in the White Sox farm system polishing his skills. Over those two-and-a-half seasons Adams has posted a 25-20 record with a 3.56 ERA over 334 innings pitched, spending time most recently with the Birmingham Barons, the White Sox Double-A affiliate in late 2016.
Adams, the 44th overall selection in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft was projected as one of the most polished and projectable pitchers in the 2014 draft class, much like the White Sox 2014 first round selection, Carlos Rodon. Rodon only pitched in 34 innings at the minor-league level before making the jump to the major-league level in the spring of 2015, Adams however, being drafted out of high school has taken more time to reach his potential.
In 2016 Adams split time between the High-A Winston-Salem Dash, and the Double-A Birmingham Barons, struggling for the first time in his professional career, to adjust to the new level of competition. In Adams first two seasons in the White Sox system in 2014, and 2015 he posted a stellar K-BB ratio of 155-22, while in 2016 he posted a ratio of 100-31 but still saw an increase in earned runs allowed, evident by his 3.98 ERA, a full point higher than his combined ERA of 2.99 in 2014, and 2015.
Adams boasts a fastball that sits in the the low-to-mid nineties, and a plus slider, with the makings of an average curveball and changeup. Adams should see his fastball sit in the mid-nineties consistently with some added strength, which will also allow his slider to become as devastating as it was in his senior year of high school, when he threw with a tick more velocity. Adams should have no problem putting on the necessary strength, a former three sport athlete in high school has room to bulk on his six-foot-three, 171 pound frame at this point.
Despite struggling with the adjustment to the Double-A level in 2016, Adams should be just fine moving forward, due to his excellent make-up. He will begin the season in Double-A with the Birmingham Barons, and likely see time at the Triple-A level with the Charlotte Knights before the 2016 season ends.
At this point the White Sox are in no rush with the 20-year-old’s development, now in a rebuilding mode, so Adams may not see the major-league level until sometime during the 2018 season, or maybe even the start of the 2019 season depending on how he adjusts between now and then. That time-frame puts Adams on the same track as likely future rotation mate Michael Kopech, with the two likely to begin the season together in Double-A in 2017. Kopech and Adams will likely slot into the middle of the rotation in late 2018 or early 2019 behind Lucas Giolito and Carlos Rodon if all goes as planned.