The 3rd round of the MLB draft began at 1pm EST on Tuesday, and the Blue Jays selected Riley Adams with the #99 pick, a catcher from the University of San Diego.
The Blue Jays had a productive first day at the draft, selecting shortstop Logan Warmoth at #22 (Matt Graves wrote him here), flame-thrower Nate Pearson at #28 (Mike Weiler wrote about him here), and C/RHP Hagen Danner at #61 (I covered the Danner selection) to round things out on Monday.
They had the 24th pick of the 3rd round (#99) overall and they selected Riley Adams, another catcher who played at the University of San Diego last season. He was originally drafted by the Cubs in the 37th round of the 2014 draft, but ended up playing college ball instead of joining the pro ranks right away.
This season he took great strides forward in the hitting department, slashing .312/.424/.564 in 202 at bats, and he also dominated the Cape Cod League prior to that, hitting .333 in his time there last summer.
Get To Know Riley Adams
Height/Weight: 6’5, 215 lbs
Schools: University of San Diego
Adams was voted as a Pre-season All-American by the scouts this year and has taken strides forward, especially in the power department. He’s also said to move quite well for a catcher of his size, and has the tools to eventually develop into a serviceable, if not above-average catcher. Adams said so himself in an interview with Baseball America:
"“I love how involved you are in a game as a catcher. I get a feel for the umpire. I get a good vantage point seeing pitches. It helps me at the plate. I really enjoy catching just to get that feel for everything. I’m not where I want to be catching, but I’m showing the right signs and progressing the right way.”"
Adams didn’t actually start catching until he was nearly finished high school, so he’s come a long way already from where he began just a few short years ago. He’s also still learning how to use his massive frame, but scouts agree that he has the potential to become an asset on defence. He apparently has also studied Karate throughout his life, so that can’t hurt his abilities either.
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There seems to be a lot of conflicting opinions on Adams after some quick research, as some projected him to be a late, first round selection, while others saw him landing in the second round, as he did to the Blue Jays at #99.
It appears this could be another case of the Blue Jays taking the “best available player”, rather than what they might have been expected to draft. While some may find it curious for them to draft another catcher after taking Danner yesterday, there is no harm in having quality depth.
Given the track record of the MLB draft, there are no guarantees that anyone will become a big leaguer either, so adding Adams should be seen in a positive light for Blue Jays fans. He’s a big, athletic catcher who could end up having significant power at the plate, and those types don’t grow on trees.