ABERDEEN, Md. – Justin Lord was in street clothes as he stood outside of the Wilmington Blue Rocks’ visiting clubhouse at Ripken Stadium here on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon.
The pitching coach for the Blue Rocks had driven his truck just a few miles from the nearby hotel and was waiting for the team bus to arrive before the start of a road series against Aberdeen, the high Single-A affiliate of the Orioles just north of Baltimore.
With time on his hands, Lord was more than eager to talk about some of the pitchers he has worked with this year in Delaware.
One of them is right-hander Joan Adon, who turned 23 on Thursday (August 12th).
“His curveball has come along, he has continued to work really hard,” Lord told Federal Baseball before last night’s game.
Joan Adon just threw a complete game shutout— Wilmington Blue Rocks (@WilmBlueRocks) August 18, 2021
Oh and the Blue Rocks have won 6⃣ straight games pic.twitter.com/KmCl2ldT3l
“He has just been determined to [excel]. He comes to the field every day and tries to get better.”
Adon has done just that in his first three starts of this month.
After posting an ERA of 10.29 in July – following a mark of 5.13 in June – Adon allowed just five hits and no runs with five strikeouts and no walks in the nine innings in his start here on Tuesday against the IronBirds.
Of his 88 pitches in the first eight innings, 60 were for strikes. Overall he needed 97 pitches - 66 for strikes - as he lowered his ERA to 4.97 and improved to 6-4.
That came after he entered the game with an ERA of 5.54 in his first 16 starts this year with Wilmington.
“Sometimes these guys have to experience failure to see what they are made of and see what it takes to be competitive at this level – and the next level,” said Lord, a minor league instructor in 2019 in the Baltimore system at Single-A Frederick before he joined Washington.
Adon enjoyed mostly success early in his pro career.
He had an ERA of 3.54 in the Dominican Summer League in 2017, a record of 3-1, with a 4.11 ERA in 20 outings of the bullpen split between the Gulf Coast League and New York-Penn League in 2018 and then an impressive record of 11-3, with a 3.86 ERA in 22 games, with 21 starts, for low Single-A Hagerstown in 2019.
Like many players, Adon missed out on the 2020 season due to the pandemic.
But he was one of the youngest players to get experience at the alternate site in Fredericksburg last year.
“It was a great experience for him,” Mark Scialabba, assistant general manager, player development, told Federal Baseball last year. “He is a power arm that attacks the zone with his fastball, change, and slider. He does a really good of pitching up and down with his fastball and his change has become a weapon he can use against right and left-handed batters.”
“He has some high energy,” Brad Holman, the pitching coordinator in player development, said of Adon in 2020. “He is a talent with a fastball in the mid-90s. He has come a long way since he came here” to Fredericksburg in mid-July, 2020.
Florida State product Drew Mendoza had two hits to up his average to .235. He told Federal Baseball before the game it was his first trip to Ripken Stadium.