Jose Adames has been with the Cincinnati Reds organization since last December. The team selected him in the Rule 5 draft. No, not that one. The Triple-A Rule 5 draft. It cost the team a whole $12,500 to select him from the Miami Marlins. Why haven’t we heard much about him? Well, the now 24-year-old reliever missed all of 2017 with Tommy John surgery. He last pitched in September of 2016.
When he was selected it was noted in the write up that he had touched triple-digits in the past. It was also noted that he struggled in 2016, posting a 6.00 ERA in 48.0 innings in the Florida State League. That came with 27 walks and 43 strikeouts. There were some issues there statistically, but he showed big time arm strength. He was, however, recovering from Tommy John surgery when left unprotected.
While looking for information on the Dominican Winter League rosters I stumbled onto the Águilas Cibaeñas twitter page and they had recently posted this video of Jose Adames from instructional league play yesterday.
— Águilas Cibaeñas (@aguilascibaenas) October 13, 2017
Let’s look at the sequence posted:
- 99 MPH fastball – swinging strike
- 98 MPH fastball – taken strike
- 85 MPH slider – taken strike
- 85 MPH slider – taken ball
- 99 MPH fastball – foul
- 99 MPH fastball – taken ball
We are clearly dealing with an incredibly small sample size from the video. But 98-99 MPH and that slider will work. Where Jose Adames has struggled in the past was finding the strikezone with consistency. For his career he has walked 4.2 batters per 9-innings pitched. With that said, 2016 was his first season as a full time reliever. That same year he wound up injuring his arm, so who knows exactly how long he was pitching with something going on in his elbow?
When the 2018 season begins, Jose Adames will be 25-years-old and he will have never pitched above A-ball. Time will certainly be working against him to an extent, but for relievers in particular, age doesn’t work against you like it does with starting pitchers or position players. While there is more to pitching than just velocity, having velocity is always better than not having it. And Jose Adames has a whole lot of it.