It may not be reflected in his win-loss record, but 20-year-old right-hander Jason Adam is off to a phenomenal start with the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
The Kansas-born Royals prospect has compiled an 0.51 ERA over three outings, striking out 16 batters against five walks while holding opponents to a .200 average against him. Wednesday afternoon's outing was his best yet, as he allowed one unearned run on five hits over 7 2/3 innings yet took the loss as the Blue Rocks fell to the visiting Carolina Mudcats by a razor-thin 1-0 margin.
Adam remains winless in 2012. Though he may be frustrated by the lack of support received thus far, he sure isn't showing it.
"You always want to get a win for the team, but today that wasn't able to happen," said Adam, the Royals' fifth-round Draft pick in 2010. "The defense picked me up in a huge way today; because of them, there were a lot of pitches that I was able to get away with. They turned three or four double plays, and that picked me up big time."
Yet the ballgame's only run was the result of a fielding miscue. Tyler Holt reached on third baseman Angel Franco's fielding error to start the third inning and then stole second and third before scoring on a Jesus Aguilar single. Adam was in no mood to point the finger at anyone but himself, however.
"It's tough, but those stolen bases are on me, especially [Holt] going from second to third," he said. "I need to be able to stop his feet every time. There's no one to blame but me."
Disappointing results aside, Adam acknowledges that he's shown much improvement here in the nascent stages of the 2012 campaign.
"The offseason was huge for me. I was humbled a little bit last year but worked really hard [in the offseason] and with the [Kansas City] coaching staff this spring," said Adam, who went 6-9 with a 4.23 ERA over 21 starts with Class A Kane County in 2011. "I changed a few things up and just need to work on keeping my rhythm, keeping the ball down, and throw strikes."
Adam singles out his curveball as his most improved pitch, saying that "it's gotten better as far as location but hasn't been as consistent as I'd like." He also says that his changeup is coming along but tempers that positive development with the observation that "I still need to work on it quite a bit."
As Adam spoke about his outing, he and his Blue Rocks mates were preparing to embark on a seven-hour bus ride to Winston-Salem, N.C. Though not something to look forward to, Adam planned on making the most of it.
"[The ride] will be a good time to reflect on today and to start taking a look at what I'm going to need to do in my next start."