The consensus around baseball is that the Yankees’ chances of reaching the postseason are contingent upon the club acquiring a starting pitcher before the trade deadline. But if New York isn’t comfortable with moving pieces for one of a select few names on the market, there’s still one available arm who wouldn’t cost the front office a dime.
In fact, all it would take is a phone call.
On Friday night with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 22-year-old righty Chance Adams proved once again that he’s more than worthy of earning a big league promotion. In six efficient innings, Adams (6-3) allowed just five hits and one earned run in a no-decision against Triple-A Charlotte. He improved his season ERA to 2.37 and WHIP to 0.98 in 13 starts at the highest Minor League level. Between both Triple-A and Double-A Trenton in 2017, Adams has owned a combined 1.92 ERA, and he’s struck out 99 batters in 103.1 total innings. So it goes without saying that he has raised quite a few eyebrows across the organization.
But the Yankees have expressed some reluctance to take a chance on Adams (no pun intended) this early, as he’s rather young and still dealing with some command issues. Right after the All-Star break, when Yankees’ starter Michael Pineda was shut down for the remainder of the season due to Tommy John Surgery, general manager Brian Cashman announced that the club would hand both Luis Cessa and Bryan Mitchell spot starts in the immediate future. However, neither prospect has shown much promise on the mound, which begs the question: Would Adams, one of the franchise’s touted farmhands, perform any worse?
Even if Adams is lacking a standard Major League repertoire, which is normal for a pro his age, he’s made steady progress in crafting his deceiving fastball and secondary pitches. If his imposing statistics don’t tell the story, a number of players and scouts have also complimented Adams’ development and maturity on and off the field.
The only issue Adams may face is an innings cap. Last season, he threw a career-high 127.1 innings, and if the Yankees want to restrict him to that range again, then he would only have about three or four quality starts left. But considering that New York has yet to rule out Adams as an option, it almost seems like they’re sitting on a winning lottery ticket, afraid to cash it in.
Players, managers and scouts never run out of words to describe how difficult it is to make the transition from Double-A to Triple-A, and of course, the same can certainly be said when it relates to someone being called up to the show. But the Yankees do need to make an additional move by July 31, and who knows, maybe Adams will keep up his impressive pace and turn the club into a legitimate contender this summer.