It received little notice almost a week ago when the Blue Jays received righty reliever Jason Adam in a cash consideration deal from the Royals, but given his performance this spring and the meltdown the Toronto bullpen is currently in the midst of, he may be taking the QEW shuffle before we know it.
A Kansas high school product, Adam was drafted in the 5th round by the Royals in 2011. Working mostly as a starter, Adam reached AAA in only his third pro season, but was dealt to the Twins in 2014. He’s worked in the bullpen exclusively ever since.
Adam, who missed considerable time due to elbow issues from 2015-17 sought MiLB free agency in 2016, and signed with the Padres, who released him in August of 2017. Proving that sometimes you can go home again, Adam was picked up by the Royals, for whom he made his MLB debut in 2018. Adam appeared in 31 games for Kansas City last year, fanning 37 and walking 15 in 32 innings.
Adam has clean mechanics, with a short arm stroke. At 6’4/225, he has a power reliever build.
He throws a four-seamer which averages 94, a curve that clocks in around 77, and a change that sits at 89. He used the FB more than 60% of the time at the beginning of last year, but had turned into a 50/45 FB/CV pitcher by the end of the season. His pitches don’t move a great deal, but he has a good spin rate of almost 2600 rpm on his fastball. He can be prone to the flyball with it – opposing batters slugged .653 against it last year. Adam’s swing-and-miss pitch is his curve, which can show some sharp two-plane break when he’s on, and he can command it to either side of the plate. Adam had a 41% whiff rate with it last year. When he’s ahead in the count, it becomes an even bigger weapon.
Adam was invited to the Royals spring training camp as a non-roster invitee, but obviously was odd man out, and was dealt to the Blue Jays. Pitching against mostly Low A guys from the Yankees on Saturday, he was truly impressive, tossing a pair of shutout innings and striking out the side in the 9th to preserve the win. He hasn’t given up an earned run in 6 outings this spring.
There may be some durability concerns with Adam, but he did toss 54 innings last year, mostly as a one-inning guy. At the moment, he’s a healthy arm, which has a lot of meaning in Toronto right now. Because he’s not on the 40, a roster move would have to be made, so expect him to start the season in Buffalo, where he might not be for long.