Top prospect Adames impresses on, off field

Farm director Lukevics: Shortstop 'has good intangibles to go along with skill'

Top prospect Adames impresses on, off field

ST. PETERSBURG -- Willy Adames just keeps getting better. That's why the talented 21-year-old shortstop is the Rays' top prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.

"Willy has it," Tampa Bay farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "He has the skills that make him a good player, and he has good intangibles to go along with skill. At a young age, he's accomplished quite a bit."

Originally signed by the Tigers out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, Adames came to the Rays in the '14 trade that sent David Price to Detroit.

Early in Adames' career, scouts noted how well he competed against more advanced players. Last season, he took over as the starting shortstop at Double-A Montgomery and became a Southern League All-Star, hitting .274 with 11 home runs and 57 RBIs in 132 games for the Biscuits.

Lukevics and the Rays have seen a steady progression from Adames.

"He's more consistent from the time that we saw him in [Class A] Bowling Green to his year last year at Montgomery," Lukevics said. "He just has better strike-zone awareness. He knows the different angles of a ground ball better. He uses his arm better. It's not as wild. It's under control more. So he's improved in every area."

Adames is the total package, according to Lukevics.

"He's fluent in English at a young age, which is a good sign of him having aptitude," Lukevics said. "And he has a great attitude to go along with the skill. That makes him the player he is.

"Like I said, he has it. He's a good teammate. He interacts with the fans very well. He's good with the media. He's just a good person, and he has that uncanny ability that he leads. He leads by who he is."

Adames is a good athlete who stands out for his excellent hands and plus arm strength at shortstop, though his average speed limits his range at the position. Some believe he'll end up at third base once he's totally filled out. But don't count Lukevics among that group.

"He's had a good body type from Day 1," Lukevics said. "... He definitely has the talent and skill to be an everyday shortstop at the Major League level."

What would you expect from somebody who has it?

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com based in Tampa. Follow him on Twitter at @_wwchastain. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.