Adams quickly climbing White Sox prospect charts

Right-hander, 18, could prove to be slam-dunk selection from second round of 2014 Draft

Adams quickly climbing White Sox prospect charts

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Spencer Adams went from White County High School in Cleveland, Ga., to the Chicago White Sox, and he never really saw it coming.

Adams, who turns 19 on April 13, admits to being surprised by the White Sox second-round selection during the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. The surprise came more from projections that he would be a first-round pick, with MLB.com's Jim Callis placing Adams as high as No. 22 to the Dodgers.

"I mean, I wouldn't say disappointing. It's an honor to get drafted. I would say a little bit shocking," said Adams, who agreed to an over-slot bonus of $1,282,700 as the 44th pick overall. "That's what my expectations were and what I had been told for the most part.

"It just wasn't meant to be. This is where I was meant to be, so I'm happy with where I am."

Don't confuse Adams' shock or disappointment for anger. This is a humble young man, dropping "Yes, sir" liberally into a cordial 7-minute interview, and a starting pitcher whose overall excitement matches his zest for learning. Adams describes his style as not overpowering, featuring a fastball, two-seamer, circle change and an out-pitch slider.

He also would qualify as White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper's dream hurler in that he throws consistently in the strike zone. Over 41 2/3 innings for the Arizona Rookie League White Sox last season, Adams fanned 59 and walked four. That's right, one fewer than five. His philosophy for hitting the strike zone seems fairly basic.

"Just try to stay relaxed out there and not try to think about it too much," Adams said. "It's a mental game, and you start thinking about it too much and you try to do too much, you are not going to get as much success from what you do. Don't try to overpower anything."

"He's different than any high school kid I've ever been around, if you just look at his walks and strikeout ratios," said White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell.

Different also in the sense that baseball might not even be his best sport. Check out YouTube for Adams' clips, and a couple of impressive dunks along with a few other slick hardwood moves appear. Adams committed to play baseball at Georgia, but coach Mark Fox encouraged him to walk on for basketball.

Ultimately, Adams didn't want to risk injury and turned pro. He joins fellow top-ranked prospects Carlos Rodon -- Adams' left-handed counterpart -- and Francelis Montas as the young pitching backbone of this organization. And to think, Adams was a player the White Sox didn't believe they really could get.

"In the Draft room, it's funny because nobody was even talking about him, until the last 10 [picks]," Bell said. "We kept thinking, 'This has got to be Adams, this has got to be Adams.' Finally he gets to us, and we have to take him if he's still there."

"This learning experience is amazing," Adams said. "It's an honor to be out here."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.