11:57am: Sherman tweets that Adams has been informed by the team that he will indeed be promoted to make his Major League debut Saturday.
9:53am: Barring a “last-second shift in plans,” the Yankees will promote pitching prospect Chance Adams to make his Major League debut Saturday, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). The YES Network’s Jack Curry suggested on last night’s post-game show that Adams could be an option Saturday.
The 23-year-old Adams will have the unenviable task of making his debut against a loaded Red Sox lineup. He’ll also need to be added to the 40-man roster, though the Yankees have an open spot at present, so there’ll be no need to designate someone for assignment or make a 60-day DL move to accommodate the likely promotion.
[Related: New York Yankees depth chart]
Adams has long rated as one of the organization’s top prospects and entered the season widely ranked as one MLB’s top 100 overall minor leaguers. The start to the year for Adams, though, proved to be disastrous. Through his first 10 starts, the former fifth-round pick (2015) was mauled for a 5.93 ERA as he allowed 22 walks and eight homers through just 44 innings.
However, Adams has largely turned his season around in short order. Over the past 11 starts, he’s looked like a different pitcher, notching a 3.33 ERA with just three home runs allowed in 56 frames. He’s still walked too many batters in that time (26), but Adams has displayed a penchant for missing bats for most of the season. His recent improvements have left him with solid, if unspectacular overall numbers in 2018: a 4.50 ERA, 9.4 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 1.01 HR/9 and a 43 percent ground-ball rate in 98 Triple-A innings.
The Yankees’ current rotation is in a state of flux following the addition of Lance Lynn and J.A. Happ (who has since been placed on the disabled list) prior to Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline. New York announced yesterday that struggling right-hander Sonny Gray is headed to the bullpen, with Lynn stepping into the starting five to take his place. The plan had been for righty Luis Cessa to start while Happ recovers from hand, foot and mouth disease, but Cessa was called upon for 3 2/3 innings of relief last night and was clobbered for five runs on seven hits and a walk in that appearance.
It doesn’t seem all that likely that Adams will be a long-term addition to the rotation this time around, though he obviously has a chance to factor into the team’s plans further down the line. A strong first showing this weekend against a tough opponent would go a long way toward earning him additional looks later this season.
Given the timing of his first call to the Majors, Adams’ earliest path to free agency would come upon completion of the 2024 season, and he wouldn’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2021 season. Of course, further time spent in the minor leagues could alter both of those timelines.