McAdams Living Out His Dream With Scrappers

Long after the game is over and the stadium lights are dim Josh McAdams can still be found along the first base line signing autographs for the fans.

“When I grew up I lived 15 minutes from the Rome Braves, the low single-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves,” McAdams said. “I grew up watching Jeff Francoeur, Brian McCann, Jason Heyward progress through the minors and most of them stopped for me just the way I do with these guys.”

The 19-year-old McAdams is the type of guy every manager loves to have on his team. He plays the game with a passion and gives it his all. In 2012, the Indians made the 6’4” 210-pound outfielder their seventh round pick out of Calhoun High School in Calhoun, Georgia.

Soon after signing his contract, McAdams found himself in Arizona preparing to start his professional career.

“It was really hot, oh my goodness was it hot, but I loved the atmosphere of playing in a professional aspect,” McAdams said. “I had an Indians jersey on me and I told my mom I looked around and I finally made it. I’ve been given an opportunity most guys haven’t and I couldn’t ask for more.”

For McAdams his path to baseball was an interesting one. “I grew up in Georgia but I was actually born in California and I lived there for 5 years. Nobody in my family really played any sports altogether except for my grandfather,” McAdams said. “Ever since I was born, my mom always seemed to have Dodgers tickets so she’d take me to the games. I just felt like I had a connection with the game and I just loved it.”

Growing up he was your typical all-American kid playing every sport imaginable. “I loved playing sports,” McAdams said. “I was an all-state football player but I had to let it go. I wanted to play baseball the rest of my life. You know baseball is what I want to do.”

After the Indians drafted him, McAdams had a tough decision to make, does he go pro or take the college route?

“I was actually committed to High Point University [in North Carolina]; I was really looking forward to going there. I sat in my room for an hour trying to decide what I wanted to do.”

This type of decision is an immensely challenging one to make for an 18-year old but McAdams showed wisdom beyond his years when he made his decision.

“I mean it was a really hard choice but you know God gave me this opportunity to play this great game and there’s no point in me putting it off,” McAdams said. “I might as well start young, get in the system, and have a blast, in which I am.”

While many kids his age were getting ready to adjust to life in college, McAdams was learning to adjust to facing mid 90 mph fastballs. On his early transition from high school to professional baseball, McAdams sounded extremely optimistic.

“In high school we played in a decent region. We saw two to three decent quality pitchers a year and to get up here from seeing 85-90, then seeing 90-95 there was a big adjustment but I feel I had the proper instruction down there. The hitting coaches really helped me find myself and my swing and that’s why I’m here this year.”

Last season in 36 games with the Arizona League Indians, McAdams batted .225 with four doubles and 20 runs batted in. Going forward into this season his hopes are to increase his numbers across the board.

So far, through 10 games with the Short Season Single-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers, McAdams has posted a .237 average with three steals. Baseball is a game of adjustments, the best way to succeed in the game is to adjust with it, and that is what the young outfielder is doing.

“You have to make adjustments no matter what time of the season it is,” McAdams said. “I definitely was really anxious at the beginning of the season but I think I’ve relaxed a little bit more. I’ve started to put the ball in play a little bit more consistently. You know drive it better and not just poke it but I’m getting there and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

The improvements may not have shown up in his numbers yet but it certainly shows in his demeanor on and off the field. Another part of being a minor leaguer is the possibility of learning new positions and that is another task McAdams is more than willing to take on. Originally, a right fielder, he has taken some reps elsewhere in the outfield.

“I’ve played every position this season. I’ve played the most is right field but I’ve adjusted to the point I can go wherever they want me to go and believe I can do the best possible job and record outs out there,” McAdams said.

Possibly the best skill set McAdams can offer though is his friendly disposition. No matter what the outcome of the game he has a smile on his face and that in many ways can do a lot for his teams, the fans, and the game of baseball in general.

As the lights across the stadium begin to turn-off McAdams is finishing up the last of his autographs and with a kiddish grin gives the best explanation as to why he’s the last man out there.

“I mean I play ball I don’t have a job after this you know,” McAdams said. “I go home and I relax. What’s the rush. Why not come here and have a blast with the kids who want to stick around because that’s what they are doing, they’re sticking around for me. And the least I can do is give back them.”

Photo: Jesse Piecuch/DTTWLN photographer

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