Melvin Adon Eyes Bullpen Role In 2020
After Melvin Adon put together three underwhelming seasons as a starter, the Giants moved the 25-year-old righthander to the bullpen last season.
Adon went from underwhelming to nearly overwhelming. He converted 14 of 15 save opportunities for Double-A Richmond. In 55.1 combined innings with Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento, he recorded 77 strikeouts.
Both Adon, through translator Erwin Higueros of the Giants’ media relations department, and Steve Kline, who was Sacramento’s pitching coach last season, believe he is probably better suited to be a reliever, but Kline thinks Adon’s improvement resulted from more than simply his move to the bullpen.
Kline points to the work former high Class A San Jose pitching coach Matt Yourkin did in teaching Adon the slider.
"Once he learned that slider,” Kline said, "it became a game-changer for him.”
Adon throws his fastball in the mid-to-high 90s. That velocity has been something of a blessing and a curse.
Kline believes Adon "just thought … ‘I have to throw hard and that’s going to keep me around,’ which is good—but you have to learn how to pitch with it.”
Now, in addition to his fastball and slider, Adon uses two different breaking pitches and what Kline terms "a good power sinker.”
Listed at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Adon needs to speed up his delivery—for two reasons.
"He gets into a slow pace sometimes. It kind of deadens the game,” Kline said, adding that Adon needs to work on "holding runners, just being a little bit better (in his) delivery to the plate.”
The Giants signed Adon out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Kline termed Adon "raw” in his early pro career.
"He didn’t know how to hold a runner,” Kline said. "So, this kid has made big strides.”
Adon is in his second big league camp this spring. Considering the flux in the big league bullpen, it’s certainly plausible that Adon could make his big league debut in 2020.
"I think he’s got a chance to get there,” said Kline, who will serve as Richmond’s pitching coach this season.
— With catcher Aramis Garcia sidelined for most—if not all—of this season because of hip surgery, the Giants invited 20-year-old Ricardo Genoves to big league camp. The Venezuelan hit nine homers in 196 combined at-bats last season with short-season Salem-Keizer and low Class A Augusta.
— The Giants sold reliever Burch Smith to the Athletics on Feb. 15. It was the first deal involving a major leaguer between the two Bay Area teams since Oakland sent outfielder Darren Lewis to San Francisco for infielder Ernest Riles in December 1990.