Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Adames making strong impression

Rays' top prospect showing signs of progress
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Willy Adames is No. 1.

As in, the 21-year-old shortstop is the top-ranked prospect in the Rays' organization, according to MLBPipeline.com, and with good reason.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Willy Adames is No. 1.

As in, the 21-year-old shortstop is the top-ranked prospect in the Rays' organization, according to MLBPipeline.com, and with good reason.

Adames came to the Rays from Detroit in the trade that sent David Price to the Tigers. He took over shortstop at Double-A Montgomery last season and became a Southern League All-Star, hitting .274 with 11 home runs and 57 RBIs in 132 games for the Biscuits.

Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics said he has seen a steady progression from Adames.

Video: PHI@TB: Adames makes great stop, long throw

"He's more consistent from the time that we saw him in 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. He's improved in every area."

• Spring Training: Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs

"I'm just excited to be here," Adames said. "Every day practicing with these guys. Learning from them. Just very thankful for this opportunity. Just try to do what I can to get better."

Video: BOS@TB: Adames scores Gillaspie with two-out double

Lukevics noted that Adames has "it" -- which he based on his ability and personality. For example, the native of Santiago, Dominican Republic, made learning English a priority. Now he speaks the language well.

"When I got here, I didn't know any English," Adames said. "I was like, 'I have to learn, because I want to be here for a long time.' If I'm going to be here, I have to learn the language to communicate with my teammates.

"I started asking questions every day," Adames said. "When I didn't know a word, my teammates would help me. That's what helped me to get better. And my attitude, I'm just trying to be the same guy every day. Trying to be happy every day. Do what I have to do."

Adames has already made an impression.

"He's got all the actions," said Tom Foley, the Rays' bench and infield coach. "This guy is energy every day. The same kid. Smile on his face. Upbeat. You see that every day. That's not a facade."

Some have speculated Adames might eventually move from shortstop to third or second, but Foley squashed that thought.

"Right now there's no thought about moving him from short," Foley said.

Adames will be with the Rays for much of the spring. Now is the time to see the team's future shortstop.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames