David Adams has probably been the most exciting rising prospect in the Yankee system this season. His statistics:
|2009||22||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A-A+||132||569||490||69||140||40||8||7||75||61||88||.286||.373||.443||.816|
There is little not to be impressed about his early-season batting in Trenton. Adams has brought his power surge forward from the second half of 2009 up to Double-A. He’s belting doubles at an absurd rate (on track for close to 70 over a full season) despite the poor early season hitting environment in Trenton. His BB% is down, but that’s fairly common among players as hot as Adams is right now. Adams has shown very strong BB rates in the low minors, and he should probably be able to replicate that as his career progresses. Slightly more alarming is a 5% increase in his K%, but that’s nitpicking this early in the season.
Adams has put himself on the prospect map. He has risen rapidly through the system, and improved his play consistently. While David Adams was a 3rd round pick, he could very well have gone much higher after a really stellar sophomore season at UVA, so don’t discount his talent.
His next step will be a promotion to Triple-A, which will probably come around late-June or early-July. Unlike Austin Romine, Adams probably has no position conflicts to worry about in Scranton. Competing 2nd basemen include Kevin Russo, who is currently in New York, and would probably primarily be moved to a utility role if push comes to shove, Reegie Corona, who has utterly failed to hit at Triple-A yet again, and Matthew Cusick, who is minor league filler. The Yankees won’t prioritize these guys over Adams.
However, the positional picture is less clear in the majors. Barring a major catastrophe, Robinson Cano has the 2nd base position locked up in New York for the foreseeable future. The only other position that Adams has experience in is 3rd base, which is also taken. The Yankees face a dilemma here. Adams is by far most valuable at the 2nd base position, and has a very solid chance of being an above average or better MLB starting player. The Yankees could move him to left field, where his bat would be average at best, or they could prepare him for a utility role. Adams is poorly suited for the infield utility bench spot due to a lack of any history playing short stop.
The Yankees have two other options for David Adams: use him as trade bait, or let him languish at Triple-A long term as an emergency option a la Juan Miranda. Which outcome happens depends on a few factors. If Adams finishes the season hitting .317/.379/.532, he’ll quickly be considered one of the top-100 prospects in baseball, and should be able to garner real trade interest. If he finishes the season in Double-A, replicating his .286/.373/.443 line from 2009, he probably won’t. Adams deserves more than a long-term stay in Triple-A hell, but he’ll have to hit his way out the minors far more than your average prospect.