Drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB Draft, Adams has wasted no time establishing himself as one of the top pitching prospects in the Yankees’ system. The compact, muscular right-hander brings a plus fastball (91-to-96 mph) to the table along with two potentially average secondary offerings. The slider can bring some 3/4’s depth but it can get shallow at times and act like more of a cutter, but he has shown a few of late with some significant depth and bite that has helped lead to a nice run of 43 strikeouts over his last six starts. Adams does have a bit of a hard-hard profile, and the firm changeup, while having decent velocity separation, has more fade to the arm side than any real bottom, causing it to stay on plane with the fastball and be hittable.
Adams has a very quick arm through his high-3/4’s slot, and the heater gets plus life in the zone. Adams does have some effort in his delivery, but he’s athletic enough to repeat it while doing a good job creating angle to the plate. Despite the even GO:AO ratio in 2017, his heater does have some heft to it and if his command in the zone improves, he should start to see more ground balls – a point that could make the difference between him sticking in the rotation and moving to the bullpen. Thus far in his pro career, Adams has been tough to square up, and he hasn’t posted a H/9 total higher than 6.1 as a pro. His command is below average, however, and his walk rates are hovering around 3.50 BB/9 across two levels this season – two things that will be exploited at the next level should he not make some improvements. However, the quality of his raw stuff can’t be discounted, and it will play versus major league hitters – the question will be how consistently can he locate, and will he be able to change speeds enough to keep hitters off the hard-hard profile multiple times through the order.
Ultimately, the below-average command and the walk rate will bite him at the next level, where he won’t be able to over-match hitters out over the plate. The changeup is a nice pitch and the way his arm works, it is not a stretch to think that he will find some feel as his approach on the bump matures — but right now it is a fringe-average pitch for him, and not a real weapon versus lefties. For him to be expected to turn over lineups two and three times per outing, he will need that three-pitch mix. As it stands, he’s more likely to debut in the Bronx as a bullpen piece, where he can go hard for an inning or two. As the value of late-inning power arms grow, the seventh and eighth inning might be the place where Adams has the most impact for the Yankees, as opposed to a number four starter, where the command would get exposed.