2016 Statistics: 24 games started, 127.1 IP, 2.33 ERA, 144 strikeouts, 39 walks
2016 Level/Roster Status: High-A/Double-A/Non-40
After being drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 draft out of Dallas Baptist, Chance Adams worked out of the bullpen for his first half-season as a professional. His numbers were good in limited time, pitching to a 1.78 ERA in just 35.1 innings last year.
Adams moved to the rotation in his first full season with the Yankees in 2016, and started all but one game he appeared in all year. He began his season at High-A Tampa, where he threw 57.2 innings for the T-Yanks before being bumped up to Double-A Trenton.
While in the Florida State League, Adams walked 15 batters in 12 starts, held opposing hitters to a .196 batting average, and struck out 73 batters. He left Tampa with a 5-0 record and a 2.65 ERA for Trenton, where he pitched even better.
As a member of the Thunder roster, Adams’ ERA dropped to 2.07 across 69.2 innings despite the higher caliber of offense he was facing. He did walk 24 batters, but also struck out 71 in that time. He lost just one decision in his 12 starts for Trenton, going 8-1 after his promotion.
The Yankees are starved for pitching help at the big league level without much help to be found on the free agent market anytime soon. There aren’t an abundance of options in the high levels of the minors who could be suited for filling that void, but Adams could definitely work his way into the conversation in 2017.
Depending on how the Yankees work things, Adams probably finds himself at Trenton to open the season unless his spring is so good that the team feels like he can already make the jump to Triple-A. He is a college pitcher, so that is working in favor of a more aggressive approach. The Yankees have already shown they aren’t exactly afraid to move him quickly through the system.
If Adams can emerge as an option for the big league rotation by the time that the Yankees are facing losing nearly their entire rotation at the end of 2017, it will be one less thing for them to worry about heading into the offseason. Adams alone won’t be enough, of course, but hopefully he’ll be joined by the likes of James Kaprielian and Jordan Montgomery.
What Adams was able to do in 2016 was definitely impressive, and puts him in a great position to make an impact on the Yankees as early as the end of next season if everything goes well for him. The core of the team is definitely shifting toward a younger offense, and the rotation will need to come through and produce some homegrown talent for the Yankees’ “rebuild” to feel like a success. Getting Adams and co. to the big leagues would be a huge boost in that department for sure.