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The Yankees are giving relief prospects a shot at starting

After careers in the bullpen, Yankees prospects Chance Adams and Tyler Webb have been given a shot at starting.

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

With the sixth overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft, the Minnesota Twins selected University of Illinois closer Tyler Jay. Despite having started just two games in college, the Twins thought Jay had the stuff to start in the pros. So far, they have been rewarded for that faith. In High-A, Jay has more than one strikeout per inning, less than three walks per nine, and an ERA under 3.00.

Every single one of those things also applies to Yankees prospect Chance Adams, who wasn't picked 147 selections later in the fifth round. Adams was the closer for Dallas Baptist in the Missouri Valley Conference. It is worth mentioning that Dallas Baptist had seven players drafted last year, so we underestimate them because they are in the MVC. Either way, Adams was ranked as the 245th best prospect of the 2015 Draft Class by Baseball America.

This season, Adams has done very well as a starter in High-A Tampa. He has almost 11 K/9 and a 1.06 WHIP, to go along with a 2.91 ERA. It might not be long before he is given the opportunity to mow hitters down in Double-A Trenton if he continues to work at his current pace.

Meanwhile, in Triple-A, 6'6" lefty Tyler Webb has made three starts after pitching exclusively out of the bullpen since 2012, when he was a junior at South Carolina. Webb is a couple months shy of his 26th birthday, so he would have to be categorized as a very, very late bloomer.

In 2015, he was described as reaching 95 mph with his fastball and having "a solid average slider and fringy changeup" by Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs. He has always been a strikeout machine out of the bullpen, having what can be considered a down year in 2015 when he struck out just under 10 batters per nine innings.

Tenth round picks who are not going to receive very much fanfare or media coverage, so it is tough to say what Webb has done to get a chance in the rotation. It is possible that he is just making a few spot starts, but there is always a chance that he has developed a good changeup. To be fair, Phil Coke was also starting at Scranton-Wilkesbarre, so it is probably more of a question of lacking organizational depth. But anytime a 6'6" southpaw can reach 95 mph, it is easy to keep the idea of him being a crafty left-handed starter in the back of your mind.

Pitchers like Adams and Webb might be an interesting storyline to follow for the Yankees. It is possible that someone in the organization has a knack for helping relief pitchers simplify their mechanics to transition into a starting role. Maybe the Yankees are seeing former Tampa Yankees swingman Jose Quintana dominate for the Chicago White Sox and don't want to see any more sleepers slip through the cracks. Either way, look for pitchers like Chance Adams and Tyler Webb to get some more press in the near future.