- The Washington Times
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Despite losing his league-leading seventh game on Tuesday, Nationals pitcher Joan Adon’s start versus the Marlins may have been his most promising yet. 

The 23-year-old right-hander saw his average fastball velocity jump nearly 2 mph in the 5-1 loss — the Nationals’ third straight as the club fell to 12-26 on the season. 

His average fastball on Tuesday was 96.2 mph compared to 94.5 mph previously, according to Statcast. Adon fired 11 pitches versus the Marlins that clocked in at 97 mph or faster, and his hardest pitch of the evening was a 98.2 mph four-seamer in the second inning. 

During his post-game press conference on MASN, manager Dave Martinez credited Adon’s increased velocity to work he did during bullpen sessions with pitching coach Jim Hickey. 

“For me, it was more about his mechanics,” Martinez said. “Hickey cleaned a lot of that up with him. During the bullpen session, we talked about him staying in his legs. He did that really well today and you saw the velo, it spiked up. Twenty-three times he was at 96 [mph] or better, so to me that’s positive and that’s a great sign.”

Even more impressive, Adon’s newfound velocity actually led to improved command. Adon didn’t walk a single batter in his 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball on Tuesday — a welcome development for the Dominican Republic native who has struggled to find the plate at times this season.

Before Tuesday’s start, Adon had walked 23 batters in 32 innings across seven starts and was coming off back-to-back outings with five base on balls allowed. 

His pitch count got up there a little bit but, hey, 65% strikes, his velo was the highest I think it’s been all year and his tempo — the way he controls his body, his mechanics — was way, way better,” Martinez said.

While the outing was a positive sign for Adon, it didn’t drastically alter the season-long numbers that have the rookie as one of the worst starters in the major leagues. With a 1-7 record in eight starts, Adon stands alone in the big leagues with seven defeats. Four other MLB starters have six losses, including Nationals southpaw Patrick Corbin. 

Adon also leads the National League in walks with 23 and wild pitches with six. His next scheduled start is Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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