Coming off of an impressive run in the Arizona Fall League and armed with a 102-mph fastball, prospect Melvin Adon could make a major impact in the San Francisco Giants bullpen.
A quick look at last season’s numbers and you wouldn’t give Melvin Adon a second thought.
As a 24-year-old pitching against younger competition at the High-A level, he posted a 4.87 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and struck out 71 batters in 77.2 innings.
With a below average changeup supporting his fastball and slider, and spotty command at times, the hard-throwing right-hander has always been miscast as a starting pitcher.
MLB.com explained the reason: “San Francisco has deployed Adon as a starter because he needs innings to transition from thrower to pitcher, but scouts long have projected him to wind up in the bullpen.”
It comes as no surprise then that a move to the bullpen during the Arizona Fall League turned heads.
In 12.1 innings of work against some of the top prospects in baseball, Adon struck out 21 batters against just three walks, logging a 2.92 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in the process.
That should put a permanent end to his work as a starter, and put him on the fast track for a spot in the San Francisco bullpen.
Earlier, the team “hard-throwing” was used to describe Adon.
That’s an understatement.
His fastball sits comfortably in the upper 90s and he can reach back for 102 mph, and he backs it with a hard slider that flashes plus at times.
The Giants sent Adon back to Double-A to start the 2019 season, and he picked up a hold with a scoreless eighth inning on Thursday.
With Will Smith looking like an obvious trade candidate this summer and several other members of the big league bullpen also expendable if the right offer comes along, it’s not out of the question to think that Adon could be closing games in the majors by the end of the year.
For now, his focus will be on honing his command and improving his slider, while continuing to blow his high-octane fastball by minor league hitters.