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Random Minor League Notes: 2019 Edition
2 weeks ago  ::  Jan 05, 2019 - 10:37AM #61
MajorYankFan
Posts: 30,660

Number Of Minor League Pitchers Throwing 100 MPH Decreases In 2018


www.baseballamerica.com/stories/number-o...


Yankees (3): Albert Abreu, Luis Gil, Luis Medina.

2 weeks ago  ::  Jan 07, 2019 - 12:21PM #62
Rob
Posts: 312

Our next top 5 list is here. We take a look at the Top 5 catchers in the Yankees farm system.


pinstripedprospects.com/2019-top-5-catch...

2 weeks ago  ::  Jan 07, 2019 - 12:21PM #63
Rob
Posts: 312

Our next top 5 list is here. We take a look at the Top 5 catchers in the Yankees farm system.


pinstripedprospects.com/2019-top-5-catch...

2 weeks ago  ::  Jan 07, 2019 - 10:18PM #64
MajorYankFan
Posts: 30,660

Estevan Florial and what he needs to improve to develop into a truly elite prospect



(Presswire)




MLB teams are developing young players better than ever. We’re seeing kids come up from the minors and have an immediate impact much more often than in the past. Consider that, in the 2010s, there have been 188 rookies who put up a +2 WAR season. There’s still one year to go in the 2010s too. Only 174 did it in the 2000s and only 145 did it in the 1990s. Teams are quite good at player development.


That includes the Yankees, of course. Within the last few years their farm system has produced Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and others. That’s the foundation of a 100-win ballclub right there. The farm system isn’t as strong as it was two years ago, but that’s okay. Just about all the top prospects are now productive big leaguers. Others were used in trades for MLB help. That’s what a farm system’s for.


The best prospect remaining in the Yankees’ farm system is center fielder Estevan Florial, who is a year removed from an excellent season. In 476 mostly Single-A plate appearances, Florial hit .298/.372/.479 (145 wRC+) as a 19-year-old in 2017. Here is the wRC+ leaderboard for teenage outfielders in 2017 (min. 400 plate appearances to remove short season ball players):


  1. Ronald Acuna, Braves: 155 wRC+
  2. Estevan Florial, Yankees: 145 wRC+
  3. Taylor Trammell, Reds: 131 wRC+
  4. Jesus Sanchez, Rays: 130 wRC+
  5. Khalil Lee, Royals: 125 wRC+


There’s Acuna in his own little tier, Florial in his own little tier, then everyone else. Statistically, Florial had a crazy impressive 2017 season. His 2018 season did not go as well. He authored a .255/.354/.361 (110 wRC+) batting line in 339 High-A plate appearances, which is quite good for a 20-year-old in a vacuum, but is below expectations given what Florial did a year ago. We were all expecting a little more.


A fractured hamate bone and subsequent surgery split Florial’s season into two. He missed close to two months and his High-A numbers before the injury (107 wRC+ in 156 plate appearances) were not significantly different than his High-A numbers after the injury (112 wRC+ in 183 plate appearances). Florial did absolutely annihilate rookie ball during his rehab assignment (330 wRC+ in nine games), which I guess is cool, but it is only nine games.


Florial turned 21 in November and he’ll head into 2019 as both the top prospect in the farm system and also a player looking to rebound from a difficult season. It’s tough to know how much the wrist injury impacted his performance. Chances are he played through some discomfort before finally having the surgery, and wrist surgery is notorious for sapping a player’s power even after he’s deemed healthy and ready for game action.


“It’s tough. He’s a young, highly physically talented athlete that’s honing his craft, and then he got taken offline,” said Brian Cashman to Brendan Kuty last month. “I know our development people were feeling that he’s starting to unlock certain keys that were going to take him to another level and then boom, the injury hit and took him offline completely. When you do these hamate surgeries and you take off, you’re usually not … back to full strength until a year later.”


Florial is not lacking natural ability. He’s a high-end athlete and a physical specimen at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds. He can run, he can throw, and the ball jumps off his bat. 


Florial lacks two things right now. One is good health. He’ll be nine months out from wrist surgery when Spring Training opens next month and hopefully that means he’ll be fully recovered. Wrist trouble can linger a bit, even through an offseason of rest. If it does, there’s not much the Yankees and Florial can do other than wait until the strength in the wrist is all the way back.


The second is pitch recognition. Florial has walked a good deal in his career to date (11.1% walk rate), but minor league walk rates are notoriously fickle, and that is especially true the further away you get from the big leagues. There are a lot of pitchers in rookie ball and Single-A ball who are chucking the ball from the mound and hoping it’s over the plate. A good deal of them can’t throw three strikes before they throw four balls.


Pitch recognition though, the ability to discern a fastball from a slider, a grooved heater from a changeup, a curveball in the zone from a curveball that’ll spike in the dirt, that’s what Florial must improve. He’s struck out in 27.3% of his career plate appearances and, in the Arizona Fall League this year, advanced pitchers picked him apart. Here’s what a scout told Randy Miller in October:



“I’m seeing what I’ve seen in the past at the plate. He’s still swinging and missing. He’s chasing bad pitches out of the zone, especially late in counts. When he gets in pitchers’ counts, he’s chasing the pitchers’ out pitches … As Florial gets older, he’ll figure out how guys are pitching him and he’ll learn to lay off pitches.”



Pitch recognition is the great separator. Hitters who can discern pitches thrive and those who can’t often struggle. A lack of pitch recognition is not a total dealbreaker — guys like Jeff Francoeur and Jose Guillen had long MLB careers despite seemingly having no idea what pitchers were trying to do to them — but it is a significant obstacle. A lack of pitch recognition has prevented countless talented players from reaching their ceiling.


Although the overall numbers were underwhelming, it is encouraging Florial cut his strikeout rate (27.6% to 25.7%) and swing-and-miss rate (16.8% to 13.1%) as he jumped from Low-A to High-A this past season. It suggests (but does not confirm) pitch recognition improvement. It’s one of those things that is difficult to see statistically, if it is possible at all. You need to watch at-bats and read swings to evaluate pitch recognition.


Florial is a four-tool player and the one tool he’s missing is consistent contact ability. Plate discipline and pitch recognition are a part of that. Generally speaking, Florial can tell a ball from a strike. His issues are with telling a fastball from a breaking ball, things like that. That “four-tool player and the one he’s missing is contact” profile is dangerous. It’s more likely to produce Drew Stubbs than Christian Yelich, you know?


No prospect is truly a can’t miss, but Florial is less of a can’t miss than Torres or Judge or Sanchez, if that makes sense. He’s loaded with natural ability and that’s great. Give me tools and athleticism. He also has some very real flaws to correct, specifically with his pitch recognition, and that’ll determine whether he develops into a legitimate core piece or just an okay complementary player. At 21, he has time to improve all aspects of his game, and this season I hope to see more contact and more overall refinement in Florial’s game.


“We’re excited to see what he’s going to do as he takes his steps,” Cashman added. “His makeup … is just fantastic. He’s really smart and obviously physically gifted. So we have high hopes for him. But he’s young and he’s raw. He’s got time to put in still.”



1 week ago  ::  Jan 09, 2019 - 8:20PM #65
MajorYankFan
Posts: 30,660

Prospect Profile: Deivi Garcia



(@MiLB)




Deivi Garcia | RHP


Background
The 19-year-old Garcia grew up in Bonoa, Dominican Republic, which has produced its fair share of big leaguers, most notably Juan Cruz, Carlos Marmol, Adalberto Mejia, and Joel Peralta. Neither MLB.comnor Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked Garcia as one of the top 30 prospects for the 2015-16 international signing period.


The Yankees were in the penalty phase for their 2014-15 international spending spree at the time, meaning their signing bonuses were capped at $300,000. Garcia received a $200,000 bonus. As best I can tell, that is the third largest bonus the Yankees handed out during the 2015-16 signing period, behind shortstop Jesus Bastidas ($300,000) and righty Luis Medina ($280,000).


Pro Career
Like most international signees, Garcia made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League. He made 12 starts and threw 48.1 innings with a 2.61 ERA (3.22 FIP) for the DSL2 squad in 2016. (The Yankees had two DSL affiliates, DSL1 and DSL2, up until two years ago. Now they have one.) Garcia posted a 31.6% strikeout rate and a 16.6% walk rate in those 48.1 innings.


The Yankees had Garcia begin the 2017 season back in the DSL, but, after three starts, they brought him to the United States. Garcia made four appearances and threw 16.2 innings in the rookie Gulf Coast League before being moved up to rookie Pulaski, where he made six starts and threw 28 innings. He pitched well at all three levels and finished with a 3.30 ERA (3.44 FIP) and strong strikeout (36.6%) and walk (8.8%) rates in 60 total innings in 2017.


Garcia started last season in Extended Spring Training and finished it in Double-A. He made his official game season debut in a June 5th spot start for High-A Tampa. Garcia was then moved down to Low-A Charleston, where he made eight starts, before moving back up to High-A Tampa. He made four starts with Tampa and closed the season with a spot start with Double-A Trenton. His level-by-level numbers:

GIPERAFIPK%BB%GB%HR/9WHIFF%
Low-A Charleston 8 40.2 3.76 3.15 37.1% 5.9% 25.9% 1.11 16.1%
High-A Tampa 5 28.1 1.26 1.96 32.1% 7.3% 35.9% 0.00 12.0%
Double-A Trenton 1 5 0.00 1.73 41.2% 11.8% 37.5% 0.00 14.3%
Total 14 74 2.55 2.60 35.5% 6.8% 30.6% 0.61 14.5%

Nine-hundred-and-two pitchers threw at least 70 innings in the minors in 2018. Among those 902 pitchers, Garcia had the fifth highest strikeout rate (35.5%) and the fourth highest K-BB% rate (28.7%). Both marks were the best among teenagers. (The next best rates among teenagers were 31.2 K% and 26.9 K-BB% by separate pitchers.)


Scouting Report
Two things immediately stand out about Garcia. The first is his size. He’s listed at 5-foot-10 and 163 lbs., and that’s after bulking up from his listed 145 lbs. when he signed. Garcia is quite diminutive, and his low ground ball rate indicates he’s had trouble generating downward plane on his fastball because of his size. That’s a physical limitation thing. Not a “it’ll get better with experience” thing.


The second thing that stands out is his raw stuff. Garcia’s arsenal is headlined by a hammer curveball in the upper-70s/low-80s. Both the curveball and his low-to-mid-90s fastball generate very high spin rates, with reports indicating the curveball has been clocked at north of 3,000 rpm. That’s elite curveball spin even for big leaguers. Garcia made real strides with his changeup last season and it’s now a third reliable pitch.


There is still some effort in Garcia’s delivery but not as much as there was two years ago. As a result, he’s improved his strike-throwing ability, though there are still times he can’t harness his stuff and the ball winds up all over the place. Garcia does need to improve his command overall. He can get the ball over the plate, for the most part. Pitching to the edges rather than the middle of the plate is the next development goal.


Fairly or unfairly, Garcia’s durability and his ability to start will always be in question because of his size. Only 13 right-handers standing no taller than 5-foot-10 have accumulated at least +10 WAR over the last 50 years. Garcia has been completely healthy as a pro to date, and hey, he is still only 19, so a growth spurt could still be coming. (If it does, it stands to reason he’ll add velocity.) Right now, his size is a potential obstacle to long-term MLB success. That’s what history suggests.


2019 Outlook
I know Garcia made that one Double-A spot start last season — he would’ve started Game Five of Trenton’s first round postseason series had they not been swept in the best-of-five series — but he’s almost certainly going to return to High-A Tampa to begin 2019. For starters, he made only five starts at that level last year. Five dominant starts, but still only five starts. Garcia still has things to learn at that level. Almost no one masters it that quickly, especially not a teenager.


And secondly, Garcia is still only 19. He won’t turn 20 until mid-May. Only two 19-year-old pitchers (Padres lefty Adrian Morejon and Braves lefty Ian Anderson) were on High Class-A Opening Day rosters last year, so Garcia very well might be the youngest pitcher in the Florida State League when the regular season begins. Keeping him in Tampa at least until the weather warms up in Trenton strikes me as the obvious move. I expect Garcia to return to Double-A at some point this summer and, if he continues pitching this well, a late season cameo with Triple-A Scranton could be in the cards.


My Take
Big Garcia fan. His size does make me skeptical about his ability to start long-term — Garcia would buck a lot of history if he’s able to do it — but, if he has to settle for a bullpen role, his fastball/curveball combination figures to make him a true high-leverage option for the late-innings. Either way, his newfound strike-throwing ability is awfully exciting. I didn’t think his control would improve that quickly. If Garcia can remain a starter, great. If he has to move to the bullpen, so be it. There’s no shame in that nowadays. (Part of me can’t help but wonder if he’s trade bait because the Yankees may be worried about his size.)

4 days ago  ::  Jan 15, 2019 - 10:59AM #66
MajorYankFan
Posts: 30,660

Prospect Profile: Garrett Whitlock


Not all top prospects get drafted in the early rounds, as illustrated by Garrett Whitlock, a right-handed pitcher the Yankees drafted out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham in the 18th round of the 2017 Draft. To be fair, Whitlock was slated to go much earlier, but he was less than a sure signing given his college eligibility and a back injury saw him lose some value. Still, the Yankees scooped him up, offered him an above slot bonus of $247,500 and signed him.


Name: Garrett Whitlock
Birthdate: June 11, 1996
Position: Pitcher
Bats/Throws: R/R
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 190


After signing, Whitlock threw 14.1 innings for two Yankees’ Rookie teams. He made three starts with the Gulf Coast League Yankees West team and then saw a couple games with Pulaski. He allowed only seven runs (six earned) on fourteen hits and no walks. He also struck out twenty-two opposing hitters. All in all, it was a promising start that he built on in 2018.


Whitlock started this past season off very strong, pitching twenty-six straight scoreless innings between April and May. Splitting time between Charleston, Trenton and Tampa, he went 8-5 with a 1.86 ERA over 23 games and 21 starts. Opposing hitters had a .214 average against Whitlock who had 122 Ks and only 41 walks and three homers.


When Whitlock was in college, he leaned on his two-seam fastball, which sits in the low-to-mid 90s with sink. He has added a four-seam fastball that he can throw mid-90s deep into a game. His next best pitch is a power slider. A solid changeup rounds out his repertoire and is particularly effective against lefties. His long frame combined with a lower arm slot makes him a deceptive pitcher.


The young hurler has already surpassed expectations, at least for the immediate time, as he has worked his way through the system. He had decent control in college, but since turning pro he seems to have taken that up a level. He still has a lot to prove, but it wouldn’t be unrealistic to see him in the Bronx in a couple years.

3 days ago  ::  Jan 16, 2019 - 8:55PM #67
Rob
Posts: 312

Our next top 5 prospect list is the second base position, here are the top second basemen throughout the organization.


pinstripedprospects.com/2019-top-5-secon...

3 days ago  ::  Jan 16, 2019 - 9:05PM #68
MajorYankFan
Posts: 30,660

Prospect Profile: Garrett Whitlock


(@TampaTarpons)

Garrett Whitlock | RHP


Background
Whitlock, 22, grew up outside Atlanta in Snellville, Georgia. He played four years of baseball at Providence Christian Academy and posted a 0.62 ERA as a senior. Despite that, Baseball America (subs. req’d) did rank him among the top 500 prospects for the 2015 draft, and he went undrafted out of high school. Whitlock followed through on his commitment to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


As a freshman with the Blazers in 2016, Whitlock worked almost exclusively in relief, throwing 51 innings with a 3.00 ERA and a 46/21 K/BB. He made one start and 24 relief appearances. Whitlock headed to the Cape Cod League for summer ball and struck out eight in six shutout innings for the Chatham Anglers. Given his limited workload, it should be no surprise Whitlock did not make Jim Callis’ top ten Cape Cod League prospects that year.


Whitlock moved into the rotation as a sophomore in 2017 and in fact he drew UAB’s Opening Day start. He got off to an excellent start to the season before suffering a back strain that sent him to the sidelines for a while, and pushed him into a relief role when he returned. His effectiveness waned and Whitlock finished the spring with a 4.03 ERA and 44/24 K/BB in 60 innings. Not the breakout year he was hoping to put together.


Because he turned 21 within 45 days of the draft, Whitlock was draft-eligible as a sophomore in 2017, and Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked him the 331st best prospect in the draft class. The Yankees selected him in the 18th round (542nd overall) and paid him an above-slot $247,500 bonus*. Whitlock had leverage because, as a draft-eligible sophomore, he could return to school for his junior year and reenter the draft in 2018.


* Every dollar over $125,000 given to a player drafted after the tenth round counts against the bonus pool, so Whitlock came with a $122,500 bonus pool charge.


Pro Career
Whitlock signed on draft signing deadline day, so he didn’t get many innings under his belt during his pro debut in 2017. He allowed seven runs in 14.1 rookie ball innings split between the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League. On the bright side, Whitlock struck out 22 and walked zero in those 14.1 innings. Not much to his pro debut.


The Yankees sent Whitlock to Low-A Charleston to begin last season and he carved up South Atlantic League hitters, throwing 40 innings with a 1.13 ERA (2.27 FIP) and strong strikeout (29.7%), walk (4.7%), and ground ball (62.0%) rates. A promotion to High-A Tampa followed. Whitlock had a 2.44 ERA (3.11 FIP) in 70 innings with Tampa. His strikeout (25.1%), walk (9.2%), and grounder (50.5%) rates were solid.


A two-appearance cameo with Double-A Trenton was uneven (10.2 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 4 K) — Whitlock actually jumped from Low-A to Double-A for a spot start in April — and Whitlock finished his first full pro season with a 1.86 ERA (3.01 FIP) in 120.2 total innings. The strikeout (24.9%), walk (8.4%), and ground ball (53.0%) numbers were good. His 1.86 ERA was fourth lowest among the 510 pitchers to throw at least 100 innings in the minors in 2018.


Scouting Report
The Yankees bet an 18th round pick and a $247,500 bonus on Whitlock returning to form as he got further away from the back injury and that’s exactly what happened. This past season the right-hander showed the same low-to-mid-90s sinking two-seam fastball he had as a freshman and on the Cape, and the Yankees also had him start throwing four-seam fastballs up in the zone to change eye levels.


Whitlock boasts two solid secondary pitches in his power slider and changeup. The Yankees have helped him gain consistency with his slider, which sometimes looked like a slider and sometimes looked like a curveball in college. Now it is a slider, definitively. The changeup is a quality pitch as well and allows him to neutralize left-handed batters. Whitlock is a true-four pitch pitcher with a four-seamer, a sinker, a slider, and a changeup.



There is a little funk in Whitlock’s delivery and it allows him to hide the ball well, so he has four distinct pitches and deception. Not bad. Throwing strikes has never been much of a problem for Whitlock. His command — the ability to pitch at the knees and to the corners of the plate — must improve across the board, however. That’s not unusual for a pitching prospect with one full season under his belt though.


On the durability front, Whitlock has had no injury problems aside from his poorly timed back strain during his sophomore season at UAB — he might’ve been a top five rounds pick with a healthy back that spring — and he has plenty of size (6-foot-5 and 190 lbs.). Enough that you could see him adding velocity should he add a little more muscle.


2019 Outlook
After ripping through two levels of Single-A ball last season, Whitlock is all but certain to begin the 2019 season with Double-A Trenton. I have to think the Yankees are hoping he can pitch his way up to Triple-A Scranton at some point as well. Half a season in Trenton and half a season in Scranton would be ideal. I’d bet against Whitlock making his MLB debut this year — he doesn’t have to be added to the 40-man roster for Rule 5 Draft purposes until the 2020-21 offseason — but don’t be surprised if the Yankees bring him to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.


My Take
I really like Whitlock. The Yankees have become quite good at developing mid-to-late round arms (Chance Adams, Cody Carroll, Jordan Montgomery, Josh Rogers, Caleb Smith, Taylor Widener, etc.) into big league pieces or trade chips, and Whitlock appears to belong in that mix. He has a deep enough arsenal and good enough control to start, which is quite valuable even if he’s only a back-end guy. In relief, he could really be something. Part of me wonders whether Whitlock is more trade chip than big league option because he’s not a huge velocity guy and the Yankees usually steer clear of middling velocity righties. Either way, what a get in the 18th round.


3 days ago  ::  Jan 16, 2019 - 9:07PM #69
MajorYankFan
Posts: 30,660

Chance Adams faces a make or break year in 2019



Adams. (Presswire)

The term “make or break” year is way overused in prospect analysis. Make or break years are often confused with prospect fatigue, meaning we’ve been hearing about these players for so long that you lose interest in them, and think they have to do something to regain your attention. Happens to everyone, myself included. These days we track kids from the day they sign. After three or four years, we’re all ready to move on to the next big thing.


That said, each season there are absolutely prospects who face make or break years, and this season is a make or break year for Chance Adams. Adams reached the big leagues last summer — who had Jonathan Loaisiga making his MLB debut before Adams? — and wasn’t very good, but it was only 7.2 innings and it was his MLB debut, and I’m more than willing to overlook a poor small sample size debut. Happens to lots of guys.


What can’t be overlooked is the giant step back Adams took in Triple-A. He went from a 2.89 ERA (3.76 FIP) in 115.1 Triple-A innings in 2017 to a 4.78 ERA (4.87 FIP) in 113 Triple-A innings in 2018. His strikeout (22.3% to 22.9%) and ground ball (41.4% to 41.7%) rates held steady while his walk (9.3% to 11.7%) and home run (0.70 HR/9 to 1.27 HR/9) rates climbed quite a bit. Performing worse while repeating a level is always bad news.


The performance issues almost certainly stem from a decline in stuff. Adams had surgery last winter to remove a bone spur from his elbow and everything took a step back last year. From MLB.com:



After sitting at 93-95 mph with his fastball in his first two seasons as pro starter, Adams had offseason surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow and has operated at 91-93 in 2018. His slider has lost a couple of ticks of velocity as well and isn’t as sharp as it has been in the past.



For what it’s worth, that report calls it bone chips but Adams himself called it a bone spur, so I’m sticking with bone spur. I’m not sure there’s a meaningful difference anyway. Now here’s what Josh Norris (subs. req’d) had to say about Adams a few weeks ago:



I think his stock has fallen quite a bit. The fastball lost a few ticks after the elbow surgery, which obviously diminishes his profile. His offspeed pitches were inconsistent as well. If he’s a starter it might be more of the back-end type role. In the bullpen he’d fit toward the seventh inning.



On one hand, you kinda have to cut the guy some slack when he has elbow surgery. One the other, there was no ligament or structural damage in his elbow. The recovery timetable for bone spurs is relatively short — Adams was a full participant in Spring Training last year — and in recent years both CC Sabathia (2014-15) and Masahiro Tanaka (2015-16) had elbow bone spurs removed in the offseason with no carryover effect the next year.


That said, surgery is surgery, and everyone recovers differently. That’s kinda what makes this a make or break year for Adams. He’ll have a full season under his belt post-surgery, which means a normal offseason and a normal Spring Training going in 2019. The bone spur surgery should be fully in the rear-view mirror. If he again shows diminished stuff this year, this far out from surgery, it’s a major red flag. Something’s wrong in that case.


Adams will turn 25 later this summer and, while teams don’t care how old you are as long as you get outs, turning 25 without having established yourself in the big leagues is a tough place to be. Unless he makes the Opening Day bullpen, which could certainly happen, Adams is facing a third consecutive season in Triple-A and he is being passed over on the pitching depth chart. (I again refer to Loaisiga managing to make his MLB debut before Adams.)


For the Yankees, there’s no real problem here. They can send Adams back to Triple-A and continue to use him as up-and-down pitching depth. Adams has minor league options remaining so he provides roster flexibility. Teams could do worse for the 15th or 16th guy on the pitching depth chart. Adams doesn’t have as much trade value as he once did, which is unfortunate, but the Yankees have plenty of other prospects to trade.


The make or break year applies more to Adams to the Yankees. This is the year he has to show he can be an effective MLB option, if not for the Yankees, then for another team. Otherwise he runs the risk of essentially becoming A.J. Cole, that former highly regarded prospect who was unable to carve out a role with his original team, then starts bouncing from team to team, hoping to stick. That’s not fun.


For Adams to rebuild stock, he first and foremost has to get back his pre-elbow surgery stuff, or at least something close to it. A low-90 fastball with a soft slider won’t take you very far in today’s MLB. If Adams regains stuff, he should cut through Triple-A batters, which will equal an MLB opportunity. If not as a starter then as a reliever. It’s then up to him to capitalize. This coming season is an important one for Adams, for sure.


The Yankees have kept Adams at arms length in recent years — he only made his spot start at Fenway Park last year because Luis Cessa was needed in long relief two days earlier — most notably passing on him to call up Caleb Smith in 2017. We’ve seen them do that with other prospects (Jesus Montero, most notably) which is usually a pretty good indication they’re not as sold on the player as much as the numbers and prospect rankings would lead you to believe.


It’s entirely possible there is nothing Adams can do to change the way the Yankees view him, which appears to be “extra arm” more than “no-doubt big league contributor.” In that case, his make or break year may already be broken. I’d like to think he could change their mind though. Come back strong with a normal offseason, show the bone spur surgery is in the past, and force the team to give you a chance. If that doesn’t happen in 2019, Adams is at risk of falling out of the picture entirely.


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