As the off season rolls right along, and the snow and cold quickly moves in for us up north, we here at BYB continue our top 20 Yankee prospect watch utilizing MLB.com rankings. Last week we discussed Billy McKinney and Tyler Wade (Read YANKEE PROSPECT WATCH: McKINNEY & WADE to get up to speed.) This week we keep it going with RHP Chance Adams, the Yankees number 14 prospect according to MLB.com.
Typically I’ve been covering two prospects at a time but I truly feel Chance Adams deserves a spotlight of his own. While I am no pro scout nor do I have a chance to see many of the Yankees prospects in person on a regular basis (unfortunately), I would rank Chance Adams higher than 14 based on my observations and research and definitely inside the top ten where other sites have him ranked (Baseball America had him eighth amongst Yankee prospect following the 2016 season.)
But the prospect ranking isn’t nearly as important as what Adams has done over his first two years.
|NJ.com File Photo|
Drafted out of Dallas Baptist in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, Chance entered his pro career as a reliever, a role in which he thrived in college. In his first half season in the Yankees organization, Adams was used out of the bullpen where he progressed from Low-A ball up to High-A ball throwing 35.1 innings over 14 appearances, striking out 45 while walking just nine and compiling a 1.78 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. He was used in three inning increments on four days rest to prepare him to start in 2016.
The Yankees gave Adams that opportunity in the rotation this past spring due in part to a very good fastball that sits in the mid 90’s and has touched 99 to go along with his above average slider, curve and change up. Chance reveled in the rotation and had arguably the best year of any Yankee farmhand, or any minor leaguer for that matter, this past summer.
Starting in High-A ball in Tampa, Adams began the season 5-0 with a 2.65 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, adding 73 strikeouts to just 15 walks over 57.2 innings before the Yankees had no choice but to promote him. Chance then started 12 games (plus added one relief appearance) in Trenton where he was even better. Across 69.2 innings, Chance added 71 more strikeouts to just 24 walks on his way to an 8-1 Double-A record while lowering his ERA to 2.07 and his WHIP to 0.85.
While there is not a consensus about whether Adams will stick in the rotation, there is a consensus that he is a very exciting and promising young arm, just what the Yankees need. Adams is a smaller guy in terms of pitchers at 6’0” and 215 pounds and he did have a much greater workload in 2016 totaling 127.1 innings so it remains to be seen how his body will hold up under the greater stress on his average-sized frame.
With the success he had in 2016, it’s conceivable he starts the 2017 season in Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre, making him just a phone call away from the Bronx. Some see Adams as a guy who will start in the bullpen and eventually move to the rotation once he makes it to the Bronx, but as far as I am concerned, if he has continued success in the rotation, why fix what ain’t broken?
Adams, along with Jordan Montgomery and Dietrich Enns, appear to be the three closest arms to the show with Montgomery and Enns both expected to fight for a rotation spot in March.
|In Photo: Dietrich Enns / Courtesy: MiLB.com|
What Adams seems to have on the two southpaws though is the highest upside. He has multiple above average pitches, his fastball and slider, and throws a solid curve and is not afraid to throw his change up.
In August, The Trentonian did a piece on him where Thunder manager Bobby Mitchell said Chance believes he can pitch anywhere noted although he is not a big guy per se, he is strong;
|(Photo: Houston Chronicle)|
“He’s a bulldog,” Mitchell said. “If you look at the legs on that guy, he’s stocky, but he’s really strong. He gets a lot of his velocity out of his legs. Kind of like way back when Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver and these guys who threw really hard, they got it out of their push off the bump. He’s coming off that mound hard. It’s not all arm. He’s had good stamina, and everything is conducive to staying healthy. He’s handled it well.”
Adams added: “I’ve been trying to learn how to pitch and not just be a thrower,” Adams said. “Being able to throw off-speed in (different) counts and not just throw fastballs in hitters’ counts like 2-0. I’ve been really working on the change-up. It’s really developed over the last few months.”
Along with some of the top ranked prospects, who I will cover as the winter continues, Adams is one of the most exciting prospects in my eyes. Whether he ends up at the back of the bullpen or the top of the rotation remains to be seen, but Adams is a guy all of us should be aware of.
He will be in Pinstripes sooner rather than later if all the pieces fall into place. Who knows? Perhaps Chance gives the Yankees no choice but to give him a rotation spot with an outstanding showing in the Grapefruit League this spring?
Next up on Yankee Prospect Watch are OF Dustin Fowler, a former 18th round pick who is moving up the prospect list and the young and raw Wilkerman Garcia, a shortstop who is still early in his development but has a huge upside.
|In Photo: Dustin Fowler / Courtesy: Scout.com|
Keep up with the BYB Yankee Prospect Watch all winter as we continue our countdown of the top 20 Yankee prospects.
Follow me on Twitter: @DManLucia