The fifth pick in the 2010 Rule 5 Draft was the fourth straight pitcher, and the first player not from either Low-A or Triple-A selected.
Adcock, 22, was also the first starting pitcher selected in the draft, following a solid season in High-A.
Sent from Seattle to Pittsburgh at the trade deadline in 2009, Adcock doesn’t do anything exceptionally, but he does enough well that he’s got the potential to be a fourth starter in the future. The big question is what, if anything, he’s able to do now.
Relievers are typically more popular to select than starters in the Rule 5, mainly because their transition to the majors is easier due to their role. It’s much more difficult to transition from the low minors to the majors as a starting pitcher, and even if said pitcher is moved to relief, then they’re jumping several levels and learning a new role at the same time.
There’s little question that Adcock is not ready to start in the majors. Adcock’s stuff is unexceptional, with an 88-91 mph fastball and a good changeup and decent curveball. In relief, he could lean harder on the fastball/changeup combination and get a little bit more velocity from his 6’5″ frame, so he’s not without upside. Furthermore, Adcock does have the potential to eventually be an innings-eating starter, so he’s both a not-completely-hopeless 2011 player and a potential solid down-the-line contributor.
I liked some of the later picks more than Adcock; just because his selection makes some sense doesn’t mean it was the right decision. But still, it could’ve been a lot worse.