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Yankees deal Chance Adams to the Royals

Some sort of trade involving Chance Adams was inevitable after the team designated the 25 year-old righty for assignment last week. As expected, the Yankees didn’t fetch much. In exchange for Adams, the Royals sent the Yankees shortstop Cristian Perez, who topped out in High-A with Kansas City.

The Royals are a great opportunity for Adams get his career back on track. Kauffman Stadium was one of the hardest parks to hit a home run in last year and Adams is an extreme fly ball pitcher. Plus, Kansas City won’t be in contention in 2020. That means they can give Adams an extended look that the Yankees weren’t going to offer.

In Perez, the Yankees get a light-hitting shortstop. The 21 year-old hit .252/.290/.285 (68 wRC+) for the Wilmington Blue Rocks this season, which is the Royals’ High-A affiliate. There’s clearly not much there offensively, but the good news is that he makes plenty of contact (11.3 percent strikeout rate). Additionally, he’s an “instinctive defender” per the Fangraphs prospect team. Doesn’t sound like much more than a depth addition, though maybe he turns out to be a bench guy down the road.

This trade settles one of two items currently in limbo. The other: Brett Gardner. That deal hasn’t been announced yet, but when it is, the Yankees will need to clear another 40-man roster spot. We’ll have to wait and see whether that’s a salary dump of JA Happ or another DFA akin to Adams.

Yankees deal Chance Adams to the Royals

Some sort of trade involving Chance Adams was inevitable after the team designated the 25 year-old righty for assignment last week. As expected, the Yankees didn’t fetch much. In exchange for Adams, the Royals sent the Yankees shortstop Cristian Perez, who topped out in High-A with Kansas City.

The Royals are a great opportunity for Adams get his career back on track. Kauffman Stadium was one of the hardest parks to hit a home run in last year and Adams is an extreme fly ball pitcher. Plus, Kansas City won’t be in contention in 2020. That means they can give Adams an extended look that the Yankees weren’t going to offer.

In Perez, the Yankees get a light-hitting shortstop. The 21 year-old hit .252/.290/.285 (68 wRC+) for the Wilmington Blue Rocks this season, which is the Royals’ High-A affiliate. There’s clearly not much there offensively, but the good news is that he makes plenty of contact (11.3 percent strikeout rate). Additionally, he’s an “instinctive defender” per the Fangraphs prospect team. Doesn’t sound like much more than a depth addition, though maybe he turns out to be a bench guy down the road.

This trade settles one of two items currently in limbo. The other: Brett Gardner. That deal hasn’t been announced yet, but when it is, the Yankees will need to clear another 40-man roster spot. We’ll have to wait and see whether that’s a salary dump of JA Happ or another DFA akin to Adams.

What’s next for Chance Adams?

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Chance Adams was overlooked in all of the Gerrit Cole hoopla yesterday. Understandably so, of course. To make room for Cole on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated Adams for assignment. The team now has seven days to trade or place him on outright waivers.

In all likelihood, Adams will have a new team come Christmas. Someone will take a flier on the 25 year-old righty, whether by trade or waiver claim. I wouldn’t expect him to slip through waivers, though if he did, he’d have to accept an assignment to the minor leagues.

Adams is a Statcast darling; his fastball and curveball spin rates stand at the 87th and 94th percentile of the MLB, respectively. Yet, he’s been unable to find big league success. In 33 innings with the Yankees across 2018 and 2019, Adams owns an 8.18 ERA and 7.07 FIP.

Back in 2017, Adams was one of the Yankees’ more well-regarded prospects. He made 27 starts, 21 of those in Triple-A, and recorded a 2.45 ERA and 3.70 FIP in 150 1/3 innings pitched. Having just turned 23 in August of that year, the righty was on the brink of a major league call up. Thanks to that strong campaign, he was a consensus top-100 prospect in all of baseball.

Ever since, Adams hasn’t been the same pitcher. He made his major league debut in 2018, but as you can tell from the previously cited numbers, hasn’t impressed. Moreover, the success he had found in the minors dried up. Adams’ control floundered and he gave up homers at a higher rate than ever before in 2018, leading to an ERA and FIP nearing 5 for Scranton. Granted, Adams had always flirted with high walk rates in his minor league career, often sitting around 9 percent. But in 2018, that reached just a hair under 12 percent. And the home runs? 1.27 per nine innings after never having a minor league campaign higher than 0.70.

These newfound struggles appear to have been a result of velocity loss after having bone spur surgery in advance of 2018 . He went from throwing 93-95 to 91-92. This year, Adams suffered more of the same results-wise in his third different year at Triple-A. Too many walks and too many homers resulted in too high ERA and FIP marks. Once again, his fastball sat in the low-90s.

Now, Adams is in limbo. He’ll assuredly have a new taker by next week, and maybe a chance at an extended big league look. The Yankees’ 2015 fifth rounder still has a minor league option remaining too, so a new team would obtain some roster flexibility with him. Further good news for any prospective club: Adams has reportedly regained velocity as reported by WFAN’s Sweeny Murti nestled deep into a Cole article earlier this month. Sounds like work with pitching coordinator Sam Briend has paid off.

Even with some solid underlying Statcast numbers, a reported uptick in fastball velocity, and some ex-top prospect sheen, don’t expect the Yankees to get much in return for Adams. I’m sure they’ll swing a trade between now and the end of the DFA window, but the Yankees don’t have much leverage. It’s a good opportunity for another team to buy low on Adams. A change of scenery along with regained fastball zip could be good for Adams too.

Long relief: Another Chance for Adams, Nasty Nestor, and David raises Hale [2019 Season Review]

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It’s a mostly thankless role, but someone has to do it. Chance Adams, Nestor Cortes, and David Hale were all summoned from the minors at various points this season to serve as extra arms in the Yankees’ bullpen. Let’s take a quick look at how each pitcher did and what lies ahead for them in 2020.

Chance Adams

The Yankees recalled Adams from Triple-A four separate times this season. In each instance he never stuck for an extended period until September callups. Around all of those promotions and demotions, Adams had an ugly 8.53 ERA (6.53 FIP) in 25 1/3 innings, all in relief. He pitched better in Scranton’s rotation, but it wasn’t anything special either. In 18 games (15 starts), the 25 year-old righty had a 4.63 ERA (5.07 FIP) in 81 2/3 innings. 2019 is now Adams’ second consecutive poor season.

After ascending the minor league ranks with relative ease after being the team’s 5th rounder in 2015, Adams seemed like a potential back of the rotation arm. 2017 was his peak — he threw just over 150 frames between Double and Triple-A and had a 2.45 ERA (3.70 FIP).

Now, Adams is running out of time to recover with the Yankees. He still has one more option remaining, so he could split time between Triple-A and the majors next year. However, because of back-to-back rough years, he could be on the 40-man cutting block. The Yankees probably would have a hard time keeping him if they tried to slip him through waivers because Adams has an somewhat interesting Statcast profile, particularly his curveball:

(Baseball Savant)

Nestor Cortes

Nasty Nestor came out of nowhere this season. The Yankees previously left him unprotected in the Rule 5 draft before the 2018 season and the Orioles gave him a shot. Baltimore returned him and there was really no threat of him getting picked again in 2019. And, there was seemingly little chance of him being in the majors at all this year. Then, the injury plague struck the Yanks. The Bombers sent him up and down between the majors and minors seven times by late July, but his eighth promotion proved to be the charm.

Between the numerous callups, Cortes was pretty effective for an extended stretch. A lot of it was surely smoke and mirrors, as his end of year stat line is not so great. But, there was a stretch of 41 1/3 innings in which had a 3.81 ERA from May 26th through August 9th. And as you know, there were a number of shuttle trips between the Bronx and Scranton during that period. Much of that success occurred as the bulk innings guy for Chad Green, who was oft-used as an opener.

Unfortunately, Cortes lost his magic touch to close the year. He allowed at least one run in 10 of his final 13 appearances, which helped balloon is end of year ERA to 5.80. The crafty lefty isn’t someone who blows hitters away, so it was a matter of time until the league figured him out. At least it was fun to watch him succeed while it lasted, though. He arm angles, quick pitch, and slow windups were a treat when he was on.

And for good measure, check out all these release points from his last outing of the season:

(Baseball Savant)

Cortes is another fringe 40-man roster guy who could lose his spot over the winter. However, there’s a chance the Yankees may be able to hold on to him. His upside isn’t so high that a number of teams would try to claim him. The Yanks would have to pass him through outright waivers to keep him in the organization should they cut him from the 40-man.

David Hale

Saved the best of this post’s crew for last. Hale bounced between the Yankees, Twins, and back to the Yankees in 2018, but was able to settle in with the Bombers this year. The righty was a non-roster invitee to spring training and began the season in Triple-A’s rotation. But by mid-May, the big leagues came calling.

Hale only pitched 37 2/3 innings with the Yankees. Like the rest of the roster, he wasn’t impervious to the injury bug. But those innings were quite effective: he had a 3.11 ERA and 3.32 FIP despite only striking out 5.5 batters per nine. How? Thanks to good control (1.67 walks per nine) and his ability to keep the ball in the yard (0.48 homers per nine), he limited damage. He also only allowed an 86.5 MPH exit velocity and .277 xWOBA. A lumbar spine strain put him on the shelf in late July and he never returned.

The Yankees designated Hale for assignment when Aaron Hicks returned for the postseason. In lieu of accepting an outright assignment, the righty elected free agency. Still, I’d assume there’s a decent chance he’s back with the team next spring on another minor league deal. It doesn’t seem likely he can land a guaranteed major league job despite his success in 2019.

Game 160: Yanks Slug Their Way to 14-5 Victory Amid Paxton Injury Scare

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Well, that was a scary game! At least a scary start. Paxton left the game with an injury (he’s fine, apparently precautionary, phew). After that, though, it was all Yankees all of the time. They mashed and mashed and mashed, and they destroyed the Rangers 14-7 (box). That was their 103rd win of the season, tying the 2009 team. One more and they’ll have won more than any Yankees team in recent memory aside from the mythical 1998 team. Not bad! Now just please stay healthy, for the love of all that is holy.

Let’s get right to the takeaways.

1. A Short Night From Paxton: James Paxton got hurt. We don’t have a whole lot of info on this yet, but check that link for more details. In the interim, though, it’s worth exploring the night that Paxton had on the mound. We all know how dominant he’s been recently, and honestly, I’m too bummed to get into it right now anyway. Anyway, he went 1.0 IP, surrendering 2 R on 3 H including this bomb to Danny Santana:

He didn’t look sharp and needed 21 pitches to complete the inning, but there were no real red flags that I could see. He didn’t really look to be in rhythm, but it’s hard to say from my couch if that was just because he didn’t really have it or due to any injury. Anyway, in 2019, Paxton’s average fastball velocity would be 95.4 mph. Here is his velocity chart from his one brief inning tonight:

His last two fastballs of the night? 95 and 94.8 mph, so I don’t think velocity was an issue. Ugh. Get well soon, James.

2. Have Yourself A Night, Giancarlo: The Yankees are in a race for the all-time single-season home run record and Giancarlo Stanton has just three of them. Baseball is a wild sport sometimes. He added that third one tonight, and boy was it a beauty. Check it out:

The Statcast data on this one is just as pretty as you’d think it is:

When Stanton hits them, he really hits them. It’s really a huge bummer that Stanton didn’t get to feast on the juiced ball all season because our guy may have touched 500 feet. Oh well. There’s still time yet. That was the 300th home run of the season for the Yanks, which is pretty damn cool. More on that in a minute, though.

Stanton really had himself a nice night tonight even beyond the majestic blast. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs in the 4th, Giancarlo had a nicely placed bloop single to drive in two more. Here is the video:

He would add two walks, and he went 3-3 on the night. He looked downright terrible on Wednesday, but overall I think it’s pretty hard to be disappointed with how Stanton has looked since coming back from his injury. I feel about as good as I would have hoped with Giancarlo at the plate (and in the field) going into October. Hooray for that.

3. A Great Night From the Bullpen: Well, that sure was a performance from the Yankee bullpen, wasn’t it? After James Paxton left tonight’s game with a tight left glute, there was a real chance for this game to turn into a real pain in the ass. But the bullpen stepped up and did its job across 8 innings. Here is the breakdown, pitcher-by-pitcher:

  • Ben Heller: 1.0 IP, 1 H, zeros, 1 K
  • Stephen Tarpley: 1.0 IP, zeros, 2 K
  • Jonathan Loaisiga: 1.0 IP, zeros, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Cody Gearrin: 1.0 IP, 1 H, zeros, 1 K
  • Tyler Lyons: 1.0 IP, zeros, 2 K
  • Michael King: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K
  • Chance Adams: 0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R (1 HR), 1 K
  • Nestor Cortes Jr.: 0.2 IP, zeros
  • Total: 8.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (2 HR), 1 BB, 9 K

That’ll do! Can’t say I love the one-man, one-inning approach from an aesthetic standpoint (Tuesday’s game in Tampa was really rough to watch) but hey, it worked tonight. And this was the very back end of the Yankee pen. Okay, so I’ll be honest. I wrote this before Chance Adams absolutely imploded in the bottom of the 9th inning, which completely ruined this narrative. Goodness was that frustrating. Whatever. It happens and they won.

Anyway, really nice to see Mike King get a chance on the mound in the big league game. King has been one of my favorite prospects to follow, and he’s really battled injuries this year, so that was a nice moment.

I would also be remiss not to note that my son Jonathan Loaisiga once again looked good. I still expect to see him as the 25th man on the playoff roster, and he’ll belong to be there.

4. It’s a Homer Party: Isn’t it wild to think that, as good as the Yankees have been at home this year, they are hitting so much better on the road, isn’t it? It’s even wilder to think that Yankee Stadium has been playing like a pitcher’s park (the 2nd most friendly pitcher’s park, in fact). Check out the home/road splits for the Yankees as a team, coming into tonight:

  • At Yankee Stadium: .263/.334/.474 (.809 OPS), 143 HR
  • On the Road: .271.343.502 (.845), 156 HR

I bring this up because wow did the Yankees crush the ball in the 3rd to last game in Texas’ park tonight. They hit 6 home runs! You already saw the first one above, which was Giancarlo’s moonshot. That was the 300th home run for the team on the season, which is wild. I am of the mind that Yankee home runs are fun so I am going to post each and every video highlight of them here. Why the hell not?

Here is Cameron Maybin’s, which tied the game at 2:

Here is Brett Gardner’s, which gave the Yanks a 3-2 lead (and it was also his 28th home run of the season!):

Here is the slumping Gio Urshela’s home run, which made it 6-2 Yanks:

And here is Mike “September is still Truck Month” Ford’s 2-run blast that made it 8-2 (he also added a 2-run double):

Here is Austin Romine’s 430 foot homer, LOL:

That is a lot of home runs in one game, and as YES’ Jeff Quagliata points out, this is the ridiculous 10th time in 2019 that the Yankees have hit 5 or more home runs in a single game:

The Yankees are also in a tight race with the Twins for the most home runs in a regular season history. I’m sure it will change fifty times by the time this post is actually ready to publish, but here is the leaderboard for now:

  1. Yankees: 305
  2. Twins: 303

I would prefer it if the Yankees won this race and then also outslug the Twins 15-0 in a 3 game sweep next weekend. Sound good? Good.

Leftovers

  • Gary Sánchez’s Return: Jeez, does Gary have an absolute cannon of an arm or what? Two non-notable plays early in the game involved Gary making snap throws behind runners at first, but I was too distracted by the Paxton injury to actually note when they were. Sorry about that. Anyway, I wish that we still had access to velocity stats on catcher’s throws because I’m telling you, those were two impressive ones. Gary is a hell of a player and it was nice to see him back behind the dish. (He left the game after 3 AB, exactly as planned.)
  • Luke Voit Is Struggling: Luke Voit had a really rough night, going 0-5 with 3 strikeouts. My man Luke has really struggled since returning from the DL, hitting just .222/.341/.375 (95 wRC+) since returning from injury on August 30. Now, he’s still getting on base, but that’s just about it. He’s not hitting for any power at all nor is he hitting the ball for average. Time is running out for him to turn it around before the ALDS. (He’ll make the roster, but playing time is right now far from a given.)
  • DJ LeMahieu, Hitting Extraordinaire: What, you think I could do one of these without bringing up DJ LeMahieu? Come on now. You know how this works by now. Our guy, who still has a tiny chance of winning the AL batting crown, went 3-5 with 3 RBI tonight. His batting average is up to .331 and he has 102 RBI on the season. What else can I say about him that I haven’t said already? What a player. Here’s a bases-clearing, bases-loaded triple double for DJLM:

Up Next

The Yanks and Rangers will play the penultimate game of the season tomorrow night at 8:05 pm EST. Luis Severino (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will take on a yet to be announced pitcher for Texas. You can catch that one on YES or on WFAN, as usual. Have a great night, everyone.

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