Chance Adams is on the move again, now one step away from the Bronx.
The 22-year-old righthander, among the Yankees’ top arms, became the first of their heralded prospects to be promoted this season when he was elevated from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday night.
“He’s more than ready,” said one opposing team talent evaluator who covers the Yankees’ system and was in Akron on Monday night for Adams’ most recent start. “Looked major league- ready, honestly. Four-power-pitch mix.”
Adams, the Yankees’ fifth-round pick in 2015, went 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA in six starts with Trenton, where he finished last season.
When Adams, who has been considered a potential “fast riser” in the system, and righthander James Kaprielian left spring training, they were seen as possibilities to join the big-league club this season if all went well. Kaprielian, who missed much of last season with a flexor strain, underwent Tommy John surgery last month.
The 6-1, 210-pound Adams has been nothing but dominant since beginning his professional career in 2015 by going a combined 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA in stops with Staten Island, Charleston and high Class A Tampa.
Adams went 5-0 with a 2.65 ERA in 12 starts with Tampa last season before going 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA in 12 starts with Trenton.
Opposing team scouts have raved about Adams — who features a mid-90s fastball that touches 97 mph, a slider, a curveball and a changeup — for much of that time. One NL scout said Adams’ much-touted slider already is a “big-league pitch.”
“Has various hook, slice and sharp downward breaks,” a second AL talent evaluator said of Adams’ slider. “Fastball is a solid above-average pitch and changeup isn’t bad either. Mixes in curveball really well too.”
Another NL scout said Adams “has a feel for all of the pitches in [his] selection.”
The scout added Adams’ “competitiveness and mound presence” also stand out.
“The only obstacle will be to get deeper into games, and I think he can overcome that [in Triple-A],” he said.
Adams had his longest outing of the season on Monday in Akron, allowing two runs, eight hits and two walks in seven innings. He struck out five.
“Outstanding seven innings,” said the AL scout who was in Akron. “Fastball was 92-95 with ride, run and sink.”
The evaluator praised Adams’ slider and curveball. “He does a good job of changing speeds on the pitch,” he said of a curveball that ranges from 75 to 82 mph. “One of the few starters that has both a curveball and slider that are out pitches.”
Adams got a brief taste of major-league hitters in spring training, appearing in three games. He allowed one earned run, three hits and six walks in four innings, striking out five.
As general manager Brian Cashman often says about prospects in the system, “performance will dictate” their ascension. Adams clearly had nothing left to prove in Double-A.
Two other highly rated prospects who hope their performances will earn them tickets to Scranton in the near future are Gleyber Torres and Justus Sheffield.
Sheffield, a 21-year-old lefthander who was among the centerpieces of the Andrew Miller deal with the Indians, has been up-and-down, going 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in six starts.
Then, of course, there is Torres, 20, an infielder considered one of the top prospects in the sport. After a slow start, Torres is hitting .280 with a .362 on-base percentage and .409 slugging percentage. Not one opposing team scout could be found who doesn’t think Torres will be major league-bound sooner rather than later, though the brutal weather has proved to be a challenge. Trenton was rained out again yesterday.
“Misplayed balls at short and second when I saw him and showed poor pitch recognition [at the plate],” said a third AL scout who covers the Yankees’ organization and recently watched Torres play. “They’ve had games rained out and he was not playing well in cold weather. I know he is better, but he was out of whack.”
Numbers by Chance
2017: 4-0, 1.03 ERA, 35 IP, 23 H, 4 ER, 32 Ks, 1.086 WHIP
20-2, 2.00 ERA, 0.941 WHIP