I recently had a chance to interview Angels’ farmhand, Austin Adams. Adams was drafted in the 8th round of the 2012 draft out of the University of South Florida. He signed quickly, and ended up making 25 appearances, all in relief, for the Rookie level Orem Owlz this season. In 28 innings, Adams had a 5.46 ERA, with a FIP of 4.88. Despite his ERA, he showed signs (such as his 9.96 K/9 ratio) of becoming a strong future relief pitcher at the Major League level.
Justin Millar: Growing up, did you follow any specific teams or players?
Austin Adams: I grew up in Zephyrhills, Fl which is about 30 minutes north of Tampa. Before the Rays got to St. Pete I was a pretty big fan of the Houston Astros. My father is from southwest Texas so as a kid I would always cheer for the Astros. But ever since the expansion in ’98 I’ve been a huge Rays fan.
For following a single [player], I wasn’t always a pitcher so my favorite player to watch was Nomar Garciapara. But I also loved watching Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez back in their primes as well.
JM: Looking back, how would you define and evaluate your college career?
AA: The first two years of my college were very hard on the field and I struggled immensely. The third year was full of much more success due to learning and the great coaching staff that the University of South Florida has. So to answer the question I would have to say that college was a learning experience. I’d define my career as a fairly successful one.
JM: How does it feel to be a part of the Angels organization?
AA: It’s an absolute blessing. I never followed the Angels much growing up, but once I got drafted I did some research and realized that they were the type of organization that relies on their farm system and if you’re showing success they’ll continue to promote you.
JM: What was the draft experience like to you? Had you had any contact with the Angels beforehand?
AA: The entire draft experience was pretty fun, but the actual day of the draft was very nerve wrecking. Tom Kotchman, who is the manager here in Orem, scouts in Florida, but to be honest I never really talked to him a lot during the season like I did with other scouts and teams. So to be drafted by the Angels was somewhat of a surprise.
JM: How would you describe your repetoire?
AA: Right now I throw a 4-seam fastball, a slider, and also a curve. Currently I’m working on a change up.
JM: What has your experience been like in pro ball so far? What are some major adjustments you’ve had to make?
AA: It’s been amazing so far. I haven’t had as much success as I would like to have recently, but getting paid to play ball isn’t a bad gig at all. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make while being here is understanding that I need to have better command of my pitches. In college you can get away with missing a spot here and there, but in pro ball the margin for error is significantly smaller.
JM: What are your ultimate aspirations for your pro career?
AA: I believe that every ball player at this point in their careers wants to make it to the show. But my ultimate aspiration is to be a pitcher in the major leagues and help a team win a World Series.
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