Chance Adams has posted gaudy numbers in his first stint in Triple-A but said numbers may not translate to the major league level.
But pitcher Chance Adams hasn’t only emerged from the pack — he’s also turned into another Baby Bomber in the New York Yankees top-tier farm system.
Adams hasn’t been with the organization for long — he was selected in the fifth round back in the 2015 MLB Draft — but he’s impressed throughout his brief time in pinstripes. In his first year, he compiled a 1.78 ERA in 14 relief appearances spanning from Low-A to High-A, striking out 45 batters in 35.1 innings in the process.
His success continued when moved from the bullpen to the rotation, as Adams allowed just 115 baserunners (76 hits, 39 walks) over 127.1 innings pitched, resulting in a batting average against of just .169 between High-A and Double-A. Adams continued to strike out batters at a high clip as he tallied over 10 per nine innings in his 2016 season.
In a star-studded prospect pool, Adams gained recognition. He entered 2017 as MLBPipeline’s seventh-best prospect on the Yankees and was positioned as the ace of the Trenton Thunder staff.
Once again, he exceeded expectations.
Adams has split the season between Trenton (Double-A) and Scranton (Triple-A) and has looked the best in his young career. His combined 12-3 record and 1.99 ERA immediately jump out but his secondary stats are equally as impressive. Adams is sporting a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 114:49, has a WHIP of 0.88 and opponents are slashing .177/.265./.288 against him this season.
Whether in Charleston or Tampa, Trenton or Scranton, Adams has always pitched better than advertised. If you’re a Yankees fan, dreaming of a rotation led by Luis Severino and Sonny Gray and followed by Jordan Montgomery, Sheffield and Adams doesn’t appear to be far-fetched.
But according to some, that dream may never become reality.
“I just don’t see Chance Adams as a starter,” one big league scout simply put it.
“He throws strikes but has lacked a quality out pitch. One of his three breaking balls [curve, slider, changeup] can develop into that but right now they’re so-so,” the scout continued. “I love how he’s built physically but if he doesn’t have command of the fastball big league hitters will be all over him.”
While many fans of the Yankees have high hopes for the youngster, some of the team’s personnel decisions point in another direction.
The first sign was when Michael Pineda had to undergo Tommy John surgery in mid-July. Adams was 6-3 with a 2.50 in 11 starts with the RailRiders at that time. Although General Manager Brian Cashman noted he was an option, some within the organization didn’t “believe he was ready for the bigs yet.”
And the thoughts of Adams possibly not being a long-term rotation option didn’t stop after the injury.
When speaking to a source with knowledge of the trade talks with the Oakland Athletics, it was noted that “the Yankees offered Chance Adams instead of James Kaprielian but [A’s GM] Billy Beane said no.” The A’s decided to take on a young pitcher who has a history of elbow issues and just underwent Tommy John surgery in April instead of a healthy hurler that’s dominating Triple-A hitting, further proving that Adams may not be as successful in the majors as he is in the minors.
But even though his future on a starting staff doesn’t seem bright, it doesn’t mean the 23-year-old doesn’t have potential.
“I see some [Adam] Warren in him because he can be a spot starter but will be better suited out of the bullpen,” the scout said. “He’s a bulldog on the mound. He’s extremely aggressive with no fear and has a closer’s mentality. He can be a quality reliever for the Yankees.”
Who knows? Adams can correct his flaws and do what he does in Scranton in the Bronx.
But even if he doesn’t turn into the starter fans believe he can be, it looks like he’ll have a solid future in pinstripes — no matter when he takes the mound.