Yankees need to figure out what’s wrong with Chance Adams

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Chance Adams
TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Chance Adams /

Since being drafted by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB Draft, right-hander Chance Adams was on a straight shot for the Bronx. Unfortunately, a lot has changed this season.

As late as last fall, Chance Adams was still the Yankees No. 2 overall prospect, behind only Gleyber Torres. Fast forward about eight months time, and not only has the 23-year-old Adams’ ranking fallen to No. 5, but he’s now the third-best pitching prospect within the organization, according to MLB Pipeline.

Since undergoing offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, Adams’ velocity has dipped from the mid-90s to the low-90s — and his command has often been erratic.

In 10 total starts at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, Adams, who turns 24 on Aug. 10 has pitched beyond the fifth inning just four times. For someone trying to prove scouts wrong, that believe he’s nothing more than a middle-reliever, Adams is not doing a very compelling job.

Over the course of 44 innings pitched, Adams is 1-2 with a 5.93 ERA, 1.386 WHIP, a 49:22 K:BB ratio and has allowed 39 hits, which include eight long balls.

The puzzling thing about Adams is that aside from getting the bone spur removed, nothing has really changed in regards to his delivery, arsenal of pitches or Triple-A setting.

Following an early 2017 promotion from Double-A Trenton, where he went 4-0 (six starts) with a 1.03 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 32:15 K:BB ratio in 35 innings, Adams was promoted to Scranton.

Over the next 115.1 innings (21 starts) he’d amass an 11-5 record, 2.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 103:43 K:BB ratio and hold the opposition to a .197 batting average. Aside from some high walk totals, as a whole, 2017 was a stellar campaign.

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Personally, I was hoping the Yankees would have added him to the 40-man roster so we could have gotten a glimpse of him come September, but with the crowded Rule 5 Draft fast-approaching, Adams stayed put.

The fact that Adams struggled mightily in spring training didn’t endear him to fans or team officials alike — and since camp broke back in March, he’s only had one eye-opening start which came on May 16.

In that outing versus Lehigh Valley, Adams mixed up his fastball, changeup, curveball and slider, commanding the inside of the plate while keeping the IronPigs off balance for seven shutout innings, on the way to his first win of the season.

Facing just two hitters over the minimum for seven frames, Adams allowed one-hit and struck out a whopping 10 batters for the fourth time in his career.

Unfortunately, inconsistency would rear it’s ugly head, as just five days later, Adams lasted only three innings, giving up three hits and five runs in a no-decision. It got even worse in his most recent start on May 27, as Adams failed to make it out of the first inning, getting just two outs, while walking three and allowing three runs before getting the hook.

Upon being surpassed by the likes of Justus Sheffield and Albert Abreu on the Yankees’ pitching prospects list, it would come as no surprise to me should Adams’ name come up in trade talks.

Despite his 2018 struggles, at 23, and coming off an excellent full season at Triple-A, Adams still holds a bit of value, even if a club were to take him on as a relief pitcher.

Next: Billy McKinney heating up at Triple-A Scranton

I for one would like to see how Adams fares against major league hitting before deeming him expendable. Though it would take some finagling with the 40-man, not to mention the 25-man roster, it is entirely possible that the Texas-native is merely stagnant in the minors and needs a new challenge.