NEW YORK—When the Yankees selected Chance Adams in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, they projected the righthander from Dallas Baptist to the bullpen because he threw a 96 mph fastball and a wipeout slider.
After 14 relief appearances at three levels in 2015, the player-development people suggested the 6-foot, 215-pound righty try starting. After 15 starts at high Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton this season, the conversion from bullpen to rotation has been seamless.
“He had a really good arm and a really good slider,” scouting director Damon Oppenheimer said. “We thought he was going to be a reliever, but our player development people did a nice job with him. They thought he had starter’s stuff. So far, so good.”
Danny Borrell, pitching coordinator for the Yankees’ lower-level clubs, said he saw the same characteristics.
“We saw everything they saw at Dallas Baptist,” Borrell said. “He had a good arm. His delivery was repeatable, and he was athletic. We felt he could repeat the delivery over a long time. The early reports are that he is doing OK.”
That’s an understatement.
The 21-year-old Adams cruised through Tampa, going 5-0, 2.65 with 73 strikeouts in 58 innings, to earn a mid-June promotion to Trenton. Through 16 total starts, he went 8-0, 2.82 with rates of 10.4 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per nine innings. He allowed seven home runs.
“His velocity is 94-95 (mph), and he maintains the velocity,” Borrell said of Adams. “His slider is a good out pitch, and he has a good feel for the curveball. Like all starters, he has to develop a changeup, and he is throwing 10-15 a game. It will be a solid major league pitch.”
• The Yankees suspended Tampa shortstop and top prospect Jorge Mateo for two weeks on July 6 for berating team officials over not being promoted to Trenton. He was removed from the Futures Game as a part of the suspension, and Mets shortstop Amed Rosario took his place.
• Righthander James Kaprielian, the 2015 first-round pick from UCLA, has a date with Dr. Neal ElAttrache in mid-July. Kaprielian was seen by Yankees physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on June 28 after experiencing recurring right elbow discomfort. An MRI revealed a strained right flexor tendon in the elbow.