Joan Adon, 23, debuted in the majors in Game 162 of 162 in 2021, and was part of the major league rotation in Washington, D.C. in the first two-plus months this season, but was (1-10) with a 6.95 ERA, 5.64 FIP, 35 walks, 44 Ks, and a .283/.393/.466 line against in 12 starts and 55 2⁄3 innings pitched before he was optioned out to Triple-A Rochester earlier this month.
“He’s going to go down there, we wanted to send him down yesterday so he can fit in the rotation every five days down there,” manager Davey Martinez explained after the roster move was announced, “and then work on his changeup, work on throwing his fastball and location, work on his breaking ball and throwing it for strikes, throw strike one, so... everything — he’s learned so much. From what he told us he learned about his body, his mechanics, and how to utilize everything, how to stay calm in high-leverage situations, so now it’s just getting him down there and getting him to relax a little bit and using all his tools.
“But like I said, this kid’s got a bright future with our organization. We love him, he works hard, so I can’t wait till he gets back up here and has a second go-around.”
Martinez didn’t have to wait long. Adon got one start in with Rochester, a brief, two-inning outing, in which he gave up four hits, three walks, and three runs, before he was called up yesterday to start in the first game of a doubleheader with Philadelphia in D.C.
The Nats’ skipper was asked what he wanted to see from Adon in his return to the Nationals’ rotation.
“I want him to utilize all his pitches,” he said. “He was mainly — last time, he threw a lot of fastballs. Didn’t throw his breaking balls in the zone much, or didn’t throw any changeups at all. So he went down there, and some of the things that we wanted him to focus on is, one, repeating his mechanics, two, is throwing all his pitches for strikes around the plate. So, hopefully, he went out there [to Rochester] and he worked on those things. I talked to him today, he did say he’s been working on his changeup. He was throwing his curveball a lot.
“Threw it a lot in his bullpen session, and was landing it for strikes, so I’m looking forward to watching him pitch tomorrow again.”
What did he end up getting from his starter?
Joan Adon’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 97 P, 64 S, 7/1 GO/FO.
Adon gave up two runs early, with Kyle Schwarber doubling to start the game, taking third on a Bryce Harper single one out later, and scoring, along with Harper, when veteran Nick Castellanos hit a two-run double into the right-center gap to get the Phillies on the board, 2-0.
He gave up two more in the third, as Philly jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but held it there, and ended up striking out six of the 23 batters he faced, in a 97-pitch outing, in which he threw his changeup 11 times (11%) which was up from the 6.1% changeups he threw in his first run with the ballclub this season.
Adon got six swings, and two whiffs with his change, and five swinging and 12 called strikes with his fastball, which sat at 95.6, and got up to 97.5 MPH in the outing, though the Phillies fouled off 23 pitches to run up his pitch count and knock him out relatively early.
“I mean, hey, he threw the ball well,” Martinez said after a 5-3 loss to the Phillies. “His pitch count got up there again, but he gave us five good innings. He got better as the game went on, but he threw the ball really, really well. I was very pleased. He mixed in a bunch of changeups, which was kind of nice. And I told him that if he can continue to do that, he’s going to be okay, and just understand that in some of these high-leverage situations, just relax and just continue to pound the strike zone.”
The fifth-year skipper said though Adon wasn’t gone long, he put in work, clearly took the advice the club gave him to heart.
“Absolutely,” Martinez said. “He seemed a little bit more poised. I know we talked a lot about his tempo. For a while there he was shaking off a lot of pitches, and then him and [catcher] Riley [Adams] got on the same page. His tempo was a lot better. He was getting on the mound, ready to go, so that was good. This was all stuff that we talked to him [about] before he left, and I could really see that he took it to heart. He’ll go back down there and continue to work on that stuff, but once again, I really don’t think he’s that far away from coming back here from coming back here and helping us win some games. I mean, he really threw the ball better. He used his legs better. As you can see he was throwing 97s today, which was awesome.”
Adon was sent back to Triple-A after the second of two games in D.C. last night.