2023 MLB Draft Profile: Zane Adams

April 15, 2023


It’s a word you see used quite a bit this time of year, but it’s something that’s next to Zane Adams’ name quite a bit in scouting reports.

Seriously. Take a second. Google it. Almost everyone points to how at 6-foot-4, but just a little over 180 pounds, the Alabama commit still has plenty of room left on his frame to add and take advantage of his long, lanky levers. The first few lines of one of his more recent New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series scouting reports starts off with “solid, lean body…room to fill and get stronger.”

But, here’s the thing. There are guys where it’s easy to shy away until they get to that next level, where things maybe aren’t quite there yet, aren’t quite worth it in terms of using an extraordinarily valuable draft pick while you’re waiting for a jump that may never happen.

Zane Adams is not one of those guys.

Already touching 95 miles per hour with a slurvy offspeed offering and still-developing changeup, Adams is a pro prospect right now, although some rankings seem to be waiting for that jump or perhaps expecting that he’ll take that “projectability” time while with the Crimson Tide.

And, to be just as clear, that may be the case, as Adams will very much so have a decision to make in the coming months given the significant level of interest he’s already drawn for big league clubs as they get ready for the upcoming 2023 MLB Draft in July.

The questions teams will be asking are relatively simple and mostly addressed above. First? Where do things stand with the soft-spoken Texan’s physical development, both in bulking up to become even more durable and in further refining his mechanics?

“I’m excited to go to the next level, because I know I still have so much room to improve with all the pitching technology and stuff that they have,” Adams said in a lengthy one-on-one conversation with FutureStarsSeries.com. “I’ve never even used all that cool pitching technology stuff, so I’m excited to get to use that. But, I know that my frame can still hold a lot more than it does right now. I’ve gained a little bit of weight. I used to be 165, and I’m up to 185-ish, around there. But I still have a lot left in the tank.”

Adams says he’s done that through consistently eating right and gains in the weight room, with the majority of his bulk coming after a broken ankle that cut his junior season at Porter High (TX) short last year. Limited with what he could do, he was in the weight room often, and noticed a 3-4 MPH jump in his velocity after he came back, proving to himself that his hard work had been worth it.

It isn’t all about velocity, however. Adams has also seen significant gains in his third offering, a changeup that he knows is critical to remaining a starter over the long haul, and a pitch he’s been using when he plays catch to help master the feel for it.

“Right now, in high school, you can get away with throwing two pitches,” Adams said. “Really, if you have a good fastball, you can get away with throwing one pitch. But, I know as I advance, a third pitch is going to be a huge thing. You only throw two pitches, it’s not hard for hitters to figure you out. Even bringing in a fourth pitch, that’s a whole new level to what you can do.”

Being able to pitch long enough to utilize that entire mix has been something of an adjustment as well. Stamina has been a big focus for Adams as well, as he was getting accustomed to shorter outings as he was pitching in various showcase-type events on that circuit, as well as events with the Future Stars Series, including standout showings at the National Combine and Main Event at Fenway Park.

“I got hurt last spring, and I had a lot of short outings in the summer with Future Stars and all the showcases, that’s really all I did,” Adams said. “It was a lot of one-inning, two-inning (outings); three innings was the most I went. So, a big thing was getting ready for the high school year, so I went back to seven innings and 100-plus pitches…I’m finally conditioned and I can finally go the full distance.”

Perhaps one day, Adams will throw a complete game at Fenway. For now, he’s got the memories of a dazzling outing there with the Future Stars Series, where, having earned one of the very prestigious starts, he faced 12 batters at the most recent Main Event and allowed just one hit, striking out four batters along the way.

“Going in that locker room, it’s a different feeling than anything else,” he recalled. “You feel the history in that place. Every time you get to pitch on a big league field, it’s just a really neat experience, because that’s where you’re hoping to be one day. Hopefully that’s not the last time I get to pitch there, so it’s kind of cool to be at where your goal is for the future…all the soaking in the (atmosphere happens) before you step on the mound, that’s where you really soak it all in and you look around. When you’re on that mound, you just try to dial in and get tunnel vision a little bit.”

There are multiple roads Adams can choose to eventually get back to that point. The one that’s most set in stone would be his commitment to Alabama, however. As a southpaw touching 87 miles per hour already in his freshman year of high school, he was drawing a significant amount of interest from a wide arrays of colleges that were calling.

Alabama, however, always stood out. Adams appreciated the demeanor of the coaching staff and says he connected with them, but also says he’s been a Crimson Tide fan his entire life, as he has a significant amount of family from the area and grandparents who went there. It would feel like a very natural progression if that’s the way he should choose to go.

Then, of course, there’s the pro ball right away route, which is an extremely legitimate and realistic option should he choose to take it. He knows a decision is likely looming, but has largely tried to stay in the moment with the task at hand of his high school baseball season.

“You think about it a lot, but you’ve still got to live in the moment,” he said. “When that time comes, that time will come. You start preparing for it, start getting a plan, but there’s no telling what will happen. There’s a lot of different outcomes that could happen and a lot of different things that could happen, so right now, I’m just a high schooler playing my senior year, so I try not to think about it too much.”

That’s not to say that Adams doesn’t notice the bevy of radar guns pointed squarely at his valuable left arm, however, a constant reminder of some of those different outcomes.

“It’s different than other years,” he said. “I’m warming up, and I see scouts watching my bullpen, which is crazy. But, I actually like it. I feel like I pitch better whenever I’m a little bit nervous. When I know people are watching, I tend to do better than if I’m just pitching in a normal high school game and my adrenalin isn’t up and I’m just out there cruising. Whenever I know I have eyes on me, I usually perform better and get that adrenalin going a little bit. It’s all been really exciting.”

There’s a lot still left to be determined over these next few months, but Adams knows that whichever path he ends up taking, he’s proud of the hard work he’s put in to get there and will continue to keep moving up the ladder doing something that he loves.

“I’m really excited to see what’s in store for me in the future,” he said. “I’m excited, because either way I know I’m going to continue playing baseball, and that’s the biggest goal. That’s all I want to do, play baseball for as long as I can. Either way, it’s going to be really cool experiences in the future no matter what.”

Mike Ashmore
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