Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty noted the presence of 23-year-old, 6’2’’, 242-pound righty Joan Adon in Nationals Park before the 2nd game of 3 with the Boston Red Sox in D.C. on Saturday, writing on Twitter that Adon was, “... with the Nationals and was scratched from his start in Rochester last night, [which] could very well mean he’s going to start the season finale [on Sunday].”
In his pregame Zoom call with reporters on Saturday afternoon, manager Davey Martinez acknowledged the possibility that they could turn to the pitcher ranked at No. 22 on MLB Pipeline’s list of the organization’s top prospects for the series and season finale with the Sox.
“We don’t know that yet, we’ll see, we brought him here just in case,” the skipper explained.
Joan Adon is here with the Nationals and was scratched from his start in Rochester last night. Could very well mean he’s going to start the season finale tomorrow.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) October 2, 2021
“We’ll see how the game goes [on Saturday], but it’s a good possibility. I’ll let you guys know after the game. But we wanted to get him here just in case we needed somebody.”
Adon signed for $50K out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2016, and worked out of the bullpen exclusively in 2017-18, pitching with the Dominican Summer League, Gulf Coast, and NY/Penn League affiliates, then moved into a starting role in 2019 at Low-A Hagerstown before pitching at the Alternate Training Site in Fredericksburg, VA in 2020, before the club added him to the 40-Man roster this past winter to protect him from selection in the Rule 5 Draft.
After starting the season at High-A Wilmington in the Nationals’ system, where he put up a 4.97 ERA in 17 starts and 87 IP, Adon moved to Double-A Harrisburg (6.43 ERA over 3 starts and 14 IP), and then to Triple-A Rochester, where he made one start, giving up two hits and three walks in four scoreless innings, over in which he struck out seven.
“His pitch repertoire has evolved this year,” Nationals’ Assistant GM in player development Mark Scialabba told Federal Baseball’s David Driver earlier this season.
“His breaking ball has become a swing and miss offering and he has confidence in it to both left and right-handed hitters. He has that changeup he can go to any count as well. So he has two off-speed pitches he has confidence in and he has a mid-90s fastball he can pound into the zone. I’m really happy with the strides he has made this season.”
“He’s been really good, he really has all year long,” Martinez said when asked what the club has seen from the right-hander so far this season.
Pronunciation of Joan Adon: First name like "Johan" without the "h," last name ah-DOHN.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) October 3, 2021
“I know he started out and went to Double-A, pitched really well, we got him up to Triple-A and he’s done well.
“He’s thrown the ball well. He changed a little bit of his mechanics as well, and he’s really throwing the ball well.
“So, if he does end up pitching, I’m excited to see him, he’s one of our up-and-coming prospects, but we’ll see.”
Once Saturday’s game (another loss) was over, Martinez made it official.
“I just talked to [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey, and we’re going to use Adon. I want to see him pitch. He’s done well. We’re going to start off with him, see how far he can go, and then I think tomorrow will be a better day to get the rest of those guys in there: [Paolo] Espino, [Erick] Fedde, if we need him, but I want to see Adon. Like I said, he worked hard, he’s one of our young, up and coming guys, so I want to see how he does.”
How much can you learn about a pitcher in one start in the majors? What’s the value for the Nats’ skipper and his staff to see Adon pitch live?
“Like I said, he’s done well, he deserves to be up here,” Martinez said.
“His last outing in Triple-A was really, really good. It will give him some learning experience, and know what he needs to do for next year as well.
“He’s a guy we expect that sometime next year he can help us here in the big leagues, so it gets him a little bit of a start in an unbelievable atmosphere again tomorrow, so I’m excited to see him pitch.”