Adams Moving Fast

TAMPA, FL - Just like Jacob Lindgren did a year ago, Chance Adams, this year's fifth round pick, is rocketing his way through the minor leagues and dominating every step of the way. Unlike Lindgren, however, Adams, still a reliever, is being treated like a starting pitcher in preparation for a trial run at that role in his first full season next year.

[Nathan Bond contributed to this article]

It didn't take Chance Adams very long to make a quick impression on his new organization when he tallied 13 strikeouts and held opposing batters to a paltry .154 batting average in his first four relief appearances with the Staten Island Yankees earlier this season, prompting a quick promotion to low-A Charleston.

"I was [surprised]," Adams said of the quick promotion to Charleston. "I didn't know how it worked or how quickly it went but I was very thankful to have that opportunity. It was an experience. I just tried to go out and throw strikes, and be aggressive.

"It's a little different. In college you have certain routines and sometimes you have to switch it up and the transition here hasn't been extremely hard but there have been some things have been hard for me. It's been a good experience for me though."

One major difference he quickly noticed was the difference in overall conditioning between the collegiate and professional levels. Accustomed to lifting a lot in college, he wasn't exactly prepared for all of the running he was being asked to do with the Yankees.

Still, as he's proven on the mound too, he has adjusted. He also noticed a difference even between Staten Island and Charleston.

"They tried to ease you into it [in Staten Island]," he said. "They let you do your thing but also incorporate some of their things, and I thought that was really cool.

"I don't know how to explain it but in Charleston they pushed you a little bit more. It's not guys that just got drafted, it's guys that have been around for a little while so maybe the conditioning was a little tougher [in Charleston]."

Pushed more and being expected to do more, Adams was once again all business in Charleston, striking out 16 batters in five relief appearances for the RiverDogs and holding opposing South Atlantic League batters to a .163 batting average. Once again a promotion was on his immediate horizon.

He was promoted to high-A Tampa on August 9th and tossed three scoreless innings in his Florida State League debut.

"He was impressive," Tampa manager Dave Bialas recounted. "He has composure, good stuff, and he attacks the zone. Obviously they thought his stuff was good enough to pitch here. He has the stuff to pitch at this level, a high level."

And just like his previous two levels, Adams' numbers in Tampa have been nothing short of staggering; a 1.29 ERA in his first five appearances with 16 strikeouts and just two walks, and once again allowing less hits [12] than innings pitched [14].

"I'll tell you what, he's got pretty good command of a really good fastball and he's got pretty good pitches; the slider and the changeup," pitching coach Tommy Phelps noted. "He attacked the batters with them and he's been really aggressive."

'Aggressive' is the first word his coaches use to describe him and Adams, still in the midst of his debut season, has been keeping the pedal to the floor in that department from day one.

"This season I'm just trying to go out, throw hard, throw strikes, and not walk a lot of people," Adams said. "In the offseason I'm going to try to make some improvements but for right now I just want to continue doing what I'm doing, throwing strikes, get strikeouts, and allow no runs."

He's been doing a good job of that this season and his dominance thus far, along with his extremely quick trajectory up the minor league ladder, has him looking like some other Yankee farmhands the past few years.

"He's got dynamic stuff, he attacks the zone, so just by doing that he's going to be successful here," Phelps said. "He's probably going to be a guy that moves quick.

"We've had some guys, [Nick] Rumbelow and [Tyler] Webb, who have come through and breezed through because of their stuff and their ability to command the fastball, and attack hitters."

While internally the Yankees feel Adams with his mid-90s heat and strike-throwing ways could wind up being the next power bullpen arm to ascend towards the big leagues in relatively quick fashion, the fact is Adams has been pitching like a starting pitcher even though he's pitched exclusively out of the bullpen so far.

He's been on a schedule of pitching two to three innings every six days, partly to help minimize his extended innings this year but also in part to help prepare him for a trial run at a potential starting role next season.

"We're treating him like a starter and get him sidework in between," Phelps admitted. "I guess you could say he's more like a piggy-back right now."

"They want me to try to be a starter," Adams concurred. "Next year they're going to make me a starter but since this year I've thrown quite a few innings between college and here, right now I'm three innings every six days. They've told me though they want to try me as a starter."

Obviously transitioning Adams to a starting role would pump the proverbial brakes on his meteoric rise through the minor leagues at least temporarily and it's also a move that would also require a little more mental adjustment on Adams' part too.

Still, seeing significant development from his cutter turned slider already this season and boasting a very good changeup too, Adams has the repertoire that could make him an equally forceful impact in a starting capacity someday and he himself is intrigued by the idea.

"I love relieving but I'm definitely not going to throw starting out the window. I'm going to do my best to try it and if they decide to convert me back to a relief pitcher so be it. I'm definitely going to give starting my 100 percent effort," he concluded.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories