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Give it a Chance: PSA talks to the Yankees’ #2 prospect

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Chance Adams and I discuss transitioning to a starter, Yankee culture and Ernesto Frieri DJ skills

MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees
We’re accidental Snapchat buddies now
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2017 has been a busy year for Chance Adams. The 23 year-old righthander saw his first taste of spring training before starting the season in Double-A Trenton. After being nearly unhittable in six starts, Adams found himself in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rotation, where he pitched 115.1 innings while logging a 2.89 ERA and 3.76 FIP.

After three seasons in the minors, it seems very likely Yankee fans will see Chance in the big leagues at some point in 2018. To help us all get to know another Baby Bomber a little better, PSA had a chat last week with Adams, the transcript of which you can find below (edited slightly for brevity).

Joshua Diemert: For those who don’t follow Triple-A ball, or those who might not be super familiar with Scranton, what’s the Chance Adams scouting report?

Chance Adams: I like to go right after guys, I’m not a pitcher who messes around. Usually days where I don’t have it are the only times I fall behind guys. My curveball and my changeup really developed this year, even though I don’t use the changeup on righties usually.

Josh: You were drafted out of Dallas Baptist as a reliever and you’ve since become a starter, which is usually the opposite of most pitchers’ careers. What’s fueled that transition for you and what’s made it so successful?

Chance: At the end of the day, it’s just pitching either way, and you get so much help from your teammates making sweet plays behind you, or bailing you out by scoring. But coming from college to pro ball, the transition was pretty seamless because the Yankees made it that way. They drafted me with the intention of being a starter, and so my first season I pitched every fifth day, for three innings, sort of stretching me out so I could become a starter the next season (2016). The organization has made it clear they wanted me to start and they’ve given me the tools to do that.

Josh: What was your biggest improvement this season, and what really drove your promotion to Scranton this year?

Chance: I finished the last year in Double-A, and they sent me back there for the start of the year for comfortability, I guess, I didn’t really know the reason but it’s a great team and has great coaches so I just went and did my job. I’m not one to whine about it, just go out and work at it.

Josh: Was there anything mechanical, or a pitch selection change?

Chance: Mechanics, no. Probably more honing in my changeup, it’s an important pitch when you want to work through lineups, so that’s been my biggest focus.

Josh: What’s your 2018 look like? What’s next to work on or master?

Chance: I haven’t even thought about it, honestly. Trying to earn a job in spring training is probably my goal, and better command of my changeup too. But we’ll see what happens.

Josh: So with the offseason, are you the type to take a break? A lot of athletes finish the season and then do nothing for six weeks or so, is that your style?

Chance: No, I keep working out for sure, I do that all winter. I maybe take five days or so off, but after that I keep working out and then start throwing again around Thanksgiving.

Josh: One of my favorite things about you is, you generate a ton of infield popups. About 25% of your batted balls are pop flies that stay in the infield and that’s a crazy high number. Is this something you actively work on or is it just a result of an overall approach?

Chance: Definitely a result that just happens (laughter). I didn’t even know that, honestly. It’s good to know, those usually become outs.

Josh: Scranton was super busy this year, you and Gleyber Torres were promoted, Clint Frazier was sent to the MLB team, Dietrich Enns and Dustin Fowler were traded. How do you build a culture when a roster can turn over so much?

Chance: Yeah, it’s definitely hard to see guys like Dietrich and Fowler go, because I basically came up with them the whole way. Dietrich not as much but I really got to know him and he’s a great guy, great pitcher. Fowler was my roommate for basically two years, so that was definitely hard to see him go. It’s probably best for him though, and I’d bet on him being the starting centerfielder for (the Oakland As). But these guys that come in, they get acclimated and just find their way to fit in.

Josh: Who’s the clubhouse DJ?

Chance: Nobody. Well, we had DJ Ernesto Frieri at the start of the year and he brought in his own DJ kit and whatnot, but after that, it’s just whoever wants to play music that day. Mason (Williams) plays it a lot.

Josh: Last question, if and when Didi Gregorius tweets about you, what would the Chance Adams emoji be?

Chance: I never like to pick them, whatever he feels best I’ll be okay with.

Josh: You’re just going to trust him on that?

Chance: Yeah, if I get to that point where he’s tweeting about me he can just make one up.

Josh: Thanks for your time, Chance.

Special thanks to Emily Cabrera at BHSC Global for setting up this interview. Let us know in the comments what you think Chance’s emoji should be!