The 2017 season was a special one for the New York Yankees. The team received an injection of youth that had been missing in years past.
The Baby Bombers, a group consisting of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Greg Bird and more, exceeded expectations. So did the Yankees — a team playing well beyond its years came within one game of the World Series. The kids, as they say, are alright.
The scary thing is, there are more coming. As though the future didn’t look bright enough in the Bronx after a surprising 2017 season, the Yankees still have one of the best farm systems in baseball. With so many more Baby Bombers in waiting, we at FanRag Sports thought it would be fun to take a look at one each week to pass the offseason.
The last profile focused on right-hander Albert Abreu. This time, we’ll focus on another righty, Chance Adams.
Yankee fans should be familiar with Adams, because there was plenty of talk about a big league promotion for him last year. That never happened, but Adams finished 2017 as the No. 2 prospect in New York’s system and No. 52 in baseball, according to MLB.com.
The Yankees picked Adams in the fifth round of the 2015 draft out of Dallas Baptist University. Primarily a reliever in college, it looked like Adams might hurry his way to the majors. Instead, the Yankees developed him as a starter — the decision hasn’t slowed his escalation up the minor league ladder.
Adams has sharp control and a four-pitch arsenal to go with it. Here is MLB.com’s scouting report on the 23-year-old, whose fastball sits in the mid-90s:
His heater doesn’t feature a lot of life, but his combination of velocity and command makes it tough to hit. His slider has gotten harder and sharper in pro ball, arriving in the mid-80s and giving him a second well-above-average pitch at times.
Adams’ fading changeup has also blossomed as he has used it more, and his curveball ranks as his worst pitch yet still grades as average. He locates his pitches well and loves to attack hitters.
What He Has Done
Adams has done nothing but dominate since draft day. He made it to all three sub-levels of A-ball in 2015, totaling a 1.78 ERA, 0.934 WHIP and 11.5 K/9 in 14 games (35 1/3 innings) as a reliever. It was then that the Yankees decided to convert him to the rotation.
He started 2016 at High-A, but quickly arrived at Double-A Trenton. The results were pretty much the same: a 2.33 ERA, 0.903 WHIP and 10.2 K/9. Of his 25 outings, 24 were starts. He pitched 127 1/3 innings in his first full year as a starter.
The Yankees pushed that number to 150 1/3 in 2017, as Adams toyed with Double-A and then Triple-A opponents. He finished the season with a 2.45 ERA, 1.078 WHIP and 8.2 K/2. For a while it looked like the Yankees would call him up prior to the trade deadline, but the team instead made a deal for Sonny Gray.
If Adams is still part of the organization, there is no reason to think he won’t pitch for New York in 2018.
The Yankees currently have four starters on the big league roster: Gray, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Jordan Montgomery. After missing out on Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani, expectations are the Yankees will try and re-sign veteran CC Sabathia. There are a few other free-agent options available, but New York is trying to stay under the $197 million luxury tax threshold. It won’t be spending on big names.
Adams will likely enter the season as the Yankees’ essential sixth starter, waiting in the minor league wings. If the team doesn’t retain Sabathia or sign a free agent, he would be a favorite for the fifth rotation spot in spring training.
That said, it’s hard to see the Yankees starting the season with Montgomery and a rookie at the back end of their staff.