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Where does Riley Adams fit in the Nationals’ catching mix for 2022?

Riley Adams, the Washington Nationals famous in a press launch on the commerce with Toronto’s Blue Jays that introduced the catcher to D.C. this previous July, “… was thought of the finest energy hitter in Toronto’s Minor League system in keeping with Baseball America.” Earlier than the deal, he’d put up a .239 AVG, six doubles, a triple, seven homers, 17 RBIs, 16 walks, and 20 runs in 35 video games for Triple-A Buffalo in the Blue Jays’ system in 2021, and a .262/.363/.419 line over 286 video games between 2017–2021, with 66 doubles, 5 triples, 28 residence runs, 146 RBIs, 130 walks, and a complete of 153 runs scored over these 4 years.

Adams performed in only one sport at Triple-A Rochester in the Nationals’ system earlier than the 25-year-old backstop was referred to as as much as the majors once more, after having debuted in the massive leagues with the Jays earlier in the season.

“He’s obtained plenty of pop his bat,” supervisor Davey Martinez mentioned after the catcher joined his new membership in early August, providing a short scouting report on the receiver.

“Fairly good energy hitter, he’s catch-and-throw man.”

Three video games into his time with the Nationals, Adams got here up massive with a go-ahead, top-of-the ninth, 2-run residence run towards the Braves in Atlanta, and he talked after that sport with reporters on a Zoom name about getting snug in a brand new group.

“That is my first time being traded to a brand new group and a brand new group,” the Jays’ 2017 third Spherical choose defined, “… so it’s totally different, there’s plenty of new faces and new individuals, and it undoubtedly takes a bit little bit of adjustment, however it’s cool to have moments like this to assist this group and do our half.”

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves

Photograph by Todd Kirkland/Getty Photos

“Been working so much on my swing,” he added of his focus after getting referred to as as much as the main leagues once more, “engaged on some issues to attempt to work up in the massive leagues, and felt fairly good in that second, and I sort of blacked out a bit bit after I hit it, so it was fairly cool.”

His supervisor mentioned that evening it was good to see the laborious work Adams had been placing in repay.

“He’s been working, he’s been right here, he’s studying our pitchers,” Davey Martinez advised reporters.

“One factor I at all times inform him, I mentioned, ‘Hey, catching is a troublesome factor as a result of we actually need you to study our pitchers, you bought to catch and name video games first.’ For me, hitting with catchers is only a bonus. And however he understands that, however for him to come back by way of like that — look, we all know he had that sort of energy, and for him to come back by way of like that in a giant second, it was large. So hopefully that lifted him up and he can proceed to swing the bat. I believed he swung the bat rather well right now. He hit a floor ball to second base and stayed on it, his swing has seemed so much higher. He had a extremely nice at bat and walked, and that’s one thing that we talked about as effectively, hey, taking your walks, swinging at balls in the strike zone, however but be aggressive, and he obtained a pitch up the place he might deal with it and he smoked it.”

Adams talked about his method at the plate later that month, after he homered once more in a three-hit sport towards his former group.

”I feel in common, my hitting method is to all fields, take what the pitcher offers me and never attempt to do an excessive amount of with it,” Adams advised reporters. “So I’ve been working so much just lately about simplifying all the pieces, and giving myself as a lot time to see the ball, in order that was just about it, there’s not a giant science or any particular formulation, it’s simply I’m simply attempting to simplify issues and hit the ball the place it’s pitched.”

Offensively, he mentioned, the Nationals had been stressing preparing early after they talked to the catcher.

“That’s been one in every of the greatest issues that Davey’s been preaching. And clearly working with [now-former hitting coach] Kevin Lengthy too and the remainder of the hitting coaches and all people, simply giving myself as a lot time as attainable is the greatest factor, and Davey loves to speak about getting that foot down and at the finish of the day you possibly can by no means get that foot down too early … so giving myself as a lot time as attainable is the most necessary half.”

As he burdened at the time, he was attempting to construct on the issues that went effectively for him as he continued to study new pitchers, and implement the issues the Nationals wished to see him deal with at and behind the plate.

“You at all times attempt to construct on issues like that and carry issues over. There’s plenty of issues that — I’m nonetheless engaged on my swing, there’s nonetheless loads of issues I’m attempting to work on and get to, and so, it’s a relentless course of each single day, attempting to get higher, and you understand, I really feel like if I could make some strides each day, just a bit bit higher daily, then I’ll be in an excellent place, so simply attempting to construct off that and carry it into tomorrow.”

In 19 video games and 12 begins with the Nationals in August, Adams was 15 for 44 (.341/.442/.568) with 4 doubles, two residence runs, 4 walks, and 15 Ks in 52 plate appearances.

In early September, the Nationals referred to as up one other catcher acquired at the commerce deadline, Keibert Ruiz, who obtained the bulk of the begins down the stretch. Adams talked shortly after he and Ruiz began successfully sharing the duties about working with the 23-year-old backstop who got here to the nation’s capital as one in every of 4 prospects in the deal that despatched Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the LA Dodgers.

“It’s been nice,” Adams mentioned. “It’s enjoyable right here with him and clearly he was with the Dodgers, and sort of evaluating notes from what the Dodgers did. I’ll discuss with him about what the Blue Jays did, and what we’re attempting to work on with the Nats, and the way we’re attacking hitters, how we’re working with our pitching workers and it’s sort of enjoyable simply to bounce concepts of one another, and … having Alex [Avila] there too is a big assist as a result of he’s clearly been there and he’s obtained much more time than us and much more information, in order a lot as we are able to study, I feel that’s the greatest factor and that’s hopefully what we’re attempting to hold into subsequent yr.”

In 16 video games and eight begins in September, Adams went simply 4 for 27 (.148/.395/.296) with two doubles, a triple, 9 walks, and 13 Ks in simply 38 PAs as the membership tried to get a really feel for the catcher who’s anticipated to be the No. 1 backstop in D.C. in 2022 (and past), although his supervisor mentioned they obtained have a look at what the former Jays’ catcher needed to supply.

New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Game Two

Photograph by G Fiume/Getty Photos

“He’s going to get a possibility to play, play fairly a bit,” Martinez mentioned in late September.

“As you understand,” he added, “… this point in time, a catcher that catches daily, they want days off. So subsequent yr coming to Spring Coaching, [Adams] must be prepared, he’s going to get plenty of alternatives to catch in Spring Coaching after which we’ll see the place he’s at.”

Summing up Adams’ time with the group, Martinez mentioned, “he’s been good. He’s been actually working laborious with [bullpen and catching coach] Henry [Blanco] on his catching, and dealing with Ok-Lengthy and Six [assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler] on his hitting, so he will get a possibility to go on the market … the different day he got here in and pinch hit and labored a extremely good at-bat and obtained a stroll. He took some actually shut pitches, however we all know that about him, he’s obtained eye as effectively up there and we like that about him.”

Adams completed his two-month run with the Nationals with a .268/.422/.465 line, six doubles, two residence runs, 13 walks, and 28 Ks in 35 video games, 20 begins, and 90 PAs. Will Adams be No. 2 in Washington in 2022 behind Ruiz? Will the membership choose up a veteran backstop to pair with the former Ruiz, or go along with Ruiz and Adams at a place they’ve had veterans in over the previous couple of seasons?

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