Patrick Teale

Chance Adams is now recognized as one of the top pitching prospects in the game but it's his pitching that he lets do the talking.

Right-hander Chance Adams wasn't exactly a household prospect name even among the most ardent Yankee fans entering the 2016 season but the fire-baller jumped on to the national scene by season's end as one of the top pitching prospects in the game and it was his pitching doing all of the talking for him.

Last year's fifth round pick had about as dominant a first full season as any Yankees pitching prospect has arguably ever had, posting a combined 13-1 mark with 2.33 ERA and a farm system-leading 144 strikeouts in just 127.1 innings between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.

"I feel it went really good," Adams said of his season.  "I wouldn't have been able to do it without my teammates, coaches, and trainers helping out along the way.  They do a lot for you.

"Strength coaches keep you going when it's toward the end of the season and you're tired, the trainers keep you going by keeping your arm healthy, and your teammates make good plays behind you and help you out when maybe it's not your best day. 

"I feel I had a good season.  I always hope for the best and try to prepare myself in the offseason to have the best possible season."

He limited opposing batters to a rather pathetic .169 average on the season too but behind all of the gaudy numbers was some real progress made to an already impressive game.  Known for his plus fastball-plus slider combination entering the season, he went to work quickly on improving his two other pitches.

"My changeup made the most progress," he said of his stuff.  "Fastball-slider used to be my best combo and in Spring Training they kind of took away the slider and told me 'we want you to work on your changeup and your curveball' so I focused on those.

"My curveball was already pretty decent and my changeup was good but I didn't have confidence in it so I didn't throw it with confidence.  I kind of babied it in there.  It would float in there and not have the motion it was supposed to.

"In the beginning of the season that kind of happened [too].  In my first game I gave up two home runs and they were both on changeups so I just wasn't trusting it.  Then as the season went on and I kept throwing it more and more, I kind of trusted it more and threw it with purpose, and knew when to throw it.

"In my opinion it improved more from a conviction standpoint.  I had never really thrown it with confidence and trust [before this year].  I wouldn't really finish my pronating on it.  I would just try to ease it in there and I'd spike a lot of it because I didn't want to throw it in the zone."

It actually got the point to where it became a modest strikeout pitch for him too and for a hurler who can routinely approach 98 mph with a fastball that moves, combining that improved changeup with a better curveball and an already impressive slider made him all the more lethal on the mound.

The stuff just didn't get better either, so did his overall pitch-ability.

"How to pitch mentally," he said of where he made the biggest improvement.  "Before I was a thrower; I'd go up there and chuck whatever [the catcher] put down.  I'm not saying the catcher's call a bad game or anything, I'm saying I'm learning my pitches and how to pitch; what to call in certain counts and a lot of that had to do with my pitching coaches guiding me by helping me learn through watching film, and just kind of figure out what pitches would be best to set things up.  Just stuff like that, I felt I learned a lot this year."

He learned a lot and it was quite evident most areas of his game improved too.  What is really scary though is there is still some considerable ceiling left in his game, especially with the curveball and changeup still, and his best years might still be very much ahead of him.

"You can't really be satisfied with how you've done," he emphasized.  "You've got to try new things to get you better and even with my fastball, I don't think my velo has capped out yet.  I'm still working to increase that along with better location.

"There's always room to improve.  I don't think anyone can tell anyone has a certain ceiling until they've given it all they have and they're done.  There's never really a ceiling until you've seen everything that person has done or can do."

Adamant about being able to improve even more, while Adams is both Double-A exposed and tested at this point, it hasn't hit home yet that he is closing in on potentially being big league ready sometime soon.

"No, not really," he insisted.  "You just have to continue doing what you've been doing.  You can't really take anything for granted.  My mom will send me articles and stuff saying what I might be doing and [when I might get to the big leagues] but no offense, it doesn't mean anything.  I still have to go out and do it.

"They can say I can potentially reach the big leagues at a certain point but I still haven't done it yet.  It's something I've been dreaming about since I was four years old but it's just a concept.  I don't think it's going to hit home until I actually make it."

Humble in his accomplishments, including his rather quick trajectory through the minor leagues thus far, he doesn't get hung up on accolades or titles either.  Perhaps a 'sleeper' prospect on the national scene entering the season, he's no longer under the radar with various pundits.  But whether he's considered a top prospect or not doesn't matter to him, he simply wants to do whatever he can on the mound.

"They can pay attention to me or not, I'm still going to go out and pitch.  If I don't get recognition from people it's fine with me, I'm still going to pitch my game.  If they start to like me, great.  If they don't that's fine too, I'm still going to go out and be the best pitcher for the Yankees, that's what matters to me.  The way I look at it is if you're a top pitching prospect you've got to let your game do the talking," he concluded.

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