Melvin Adon Brings The Heat In Tempe
TEMPE, Ariz.—Very quietly, the Giants assembled a cadre of flame-throwing relievers. Hunter Strickland, Derek Law, Ray Black and Rodolfo Martinez each are capable of upper-90s to triple-digit fastballs. Erik Cordier belongs in that mix, too, but has since left the organization.
Now, though, it's time to add a new name to that list: Melvin Adon, a 22-year-old Dominican righthander in his second professional season and first in the United States.
Adon spent last year in the Dominican Summer League, where he went 4-0, 2.48 with 54 strikeouts in 69 innings. This year, with Salem-Keizer of the short-season Northwest League, Adon went 5-5, 5.48 with 55 strikeouts and 34 walks in 69 1/3 innings.
And unlike Law, Strickland and Martinez, Adon is being developed as a starter. All 28 of his career appearances have come in a starter's role, and scouts in the Northwest League this past season noted that he maintained his premium velocity through the duration of his outings.
"He's got crazy velocity but he's all over the place," one scout said. "His slider was OK but could flash plus. He's got a live arm and an ideal pitcher's frame, and he holds his velocity, too."
On Thursday in an instructional league game against the Angels, Adon pitched two perfect innings with one strikeout and hit 100 mph with his fastball three times. He also showed a sharp slider in the high-80s with more horizontal tilt than vertical depth.
He also throws a changeup that can flash above-average fade, but it's very inconsistent at this point. He didn't throw any of them on Thursday.
Before he signed, Adon said his fastball was more in the 95-96 mph range. Through hard work, though, he found the extra gear that has allowed him to park the pitch in the upper-90s and triple-digits.
"I've worked hard on my rotator cuff and my body," Adon said, with the help of infield coach Ydwin Villegas as translator. "I've just been working hard every day."
Carlos Valderrama is the Giants' manager in the instructional league, and he filled the same role in the DSL in 2015, when Adon was just getting his first taste of life as a professional.
Even then, when he was even more raw than he is now, it was easy to see he had a special arm.
"He's made big improvements. He came from the DSL last year. This is his very first year in the states, and he keeps improving and improving," Valderrama said. "He's definitely got a big league arm if he puts things together and keeps working hard."
• Twins lefthander Stephen Gonsalves was excellent in this three innings on Thursday night starting for Surprise. He worked with a fastball in the 87-90 mph range and complemented the pitch with a big-breaking curveball in the mid-70s and a late-fading changeup in the high-70s. He allowed just one run—a solo home run to Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader—and struck out one.
• Twins shortstop Nick Gordon continued his hot start to the AFL campaign with three singles, a run and an RBI. Pirates infielder Eric Wood also collected three hits.
• Nationals shortstop Osvaldo Abreu collected two hits, including a walk-off two-run single off of Pirates righthander Montana DuRapau in the bottom of the ninth.
• Tigers outfielder Christin Stewart and Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Alford each collected their first home runs of the AFL season.
Melvin Adon Eyes Bullpen Role In 2020
A shift to the bullpen and new slider revitalized Adon's career, but he has a few things to work on before making his big league debut.
• The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Brewers 2016 first-round pick Corey Ray required surgery to repair a torn left meniscus in his knee. Farm director Tom Flanagan told the Journal-Sentinel's Todd Rosiak that Ray hurt the knee sliding into third base during instructional league. The No. 5 overall pick out of Louisville hit .239/.307/.370 with five home runs and 10 stolen bases in 60 games in his pro debut, spending most of it at high Class A Brevard County.