Chance Adams was the Yankees’ fifth-round selection in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. A native of Scottsdale, Ariz., Adams played his first two collegiate seasons for Yavapai College before transferring to Dallas Baptist, where he emerged as a standout relief pitcher with a 1.98 ERA in 23 appearances after improving his fastball velocity.
Adams made his professional debut with the New York-Penn League’s Staten Island Yankees and swiftly worked his way through the minor-league ranks. After allowing just one earned run in 9.2 innings with Staten Island, he earned promotions to Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa in a span of a month. Adams went 3-1 with a 1.86 ERA in 14 games across three levels and a strikeout rate of 11.5 batters per nine innings.
Recognizing his potential, Yankees brass chose to convert Adams into a starting pitcher, believing his three-pitch arsenal could translate to the rotation. Adams returned to Tampa to open the season and became the ace of the staff following a season-ending elbow injury to James Kaprielian.
His K/BB ratio was nearly identical to his prior season out of the bullpen, justifying his 5-0 record in 12 starts. The seamless transition as a starter resulted in a midseason promotion to the Double-A Trenton Thunder, where he continued to showcase his promise. Adams pitched into the sixth inning in nine of his starts in the Eastern League, tossing six no-hit innings against Richmond in his third Double-A start. In 127.1 innings across two levels, Adams was 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .169 average.
The 6-foot, 215-pound right-hander features a mid-90s fastball, changeup, and slider as part of his arsenal. Like Kaprielian, Adams experienced a slight uptick in velocity after turning pro and showcases a repeatable delivery with smooth mechanics. The move to the starting rotation last season enabled him to improve the effectiveness of his secondary pitches and attained sustained success working in the bottom of the strike zone with above-average command.
MLB Pipeline lists Adams as the 14th ranked prospect in the Yankees system. He was a non-roster invitee to big-league camp this spring and is starting to open eyes among casual observers due to his rapid rise and immediate impact in the minor leagues. In a recent interview with the New York Post, general manager Brian Cashman said that Adams has the potential to become the best pitching prospect in the organization and is “knocking at the door of a big league call-up.” Adams should open the season at Triple-A Scranton and has a chance at reaching the major leagues as a September call-up, if not sooner.