Giants prospect Melvin Adon makes it look easy in Arizona Fall League


Giants prospect Melvin Adon makes it look easy in Arizona Fall League

The numbers back up Aaron Fultz’s words.

The former San Francisco southpaw has a front-row view to Giants prospect Melvin Adon in the Arizona Fall League as the Scottsdale Scorpions’ pitching coach. 

Whenever a catcher puts down one finger for Adon, the ball is coming in hard and in the blink of an eye. How it gets there is quite the opposite. 

“The thing that’s so impressive with him, it’s just so easy. It just comes out really easy. You watch him, and it looks like he’s just flippin’ it in there and it comes out at 100,” Fultz said with a laugh Wednesday to NBC Sports Bay Area.

Through two weeks of the AFL, the ball is firing out of Adon’s fingers and missing bats left and right. In five appearances out of the bullpen, Adon has only allowed one earned run, which came off a two-run homer in his first game in the desert. He’s also struck out 13 in 6 1/3 innings pitched. 

All this success has come as a reliever after a season in which Adon had a 4.87 ERA and 1.49 WHIP at Single-A San Jose as a starter. Should his future be toward the end of games or the beginning for the 24-year-old?

“For me, I’ve heard that when he starts, he still throws 100, but he does it for six innings,” said Fultz, who is the Phillies’ Single-A pitching coach for the Clearwater Threshers. “I think he’s got potential either way. Without a doubt, he definitely could be a back-end piece -- just as strong as he is and how easy it comes out.” 

Adon sits in the upper 90s with his fastball and consistently hits 100 mph. But with every triple-digit fastball, you’re bound to get a few that go nowhere near the catcher. Command can be an issue at times for him, as he walked 3.9 per nine innings in San Jose. For the Scorpions, Adon has yet to issue a walk. 

“I think with Melvin he just needs repetitions. He’s long arms, long body, it’s a lot harder to control,” Fultz said on the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder. “He’s been great here. It’s just being able to find his rhythm and stick with it, which he’s done really well.” 

Baseball is a power game, but Adon will need a secondary strikeout pitch to make the leap. In the AFL, he is working on his changeup and slider, which can be a nasty swing-and-miss pitch at times. Both pitches are far from finished products, however. 

“Honestly, it depends on the day,” Fultz said. "One day I see his changeup where it’s like, ‘Wow,’ and one day I see his slider, and it’s the same thing."

No matter if it’s as a starter or taking the ball at the end of games, Fultz can’t see failure in Adon’s future with all the potential in his explosive right arm. 

“Just assuming, and this is my opinion, if he gets those [off-speed pitches] down consistently, he can be a starter,” Fultz said. "And if he gets a spot in the bullpen first, he can be an eighth or ninth inning guy easily."

Giants, Madison Bumgarner's camp talking with Dodgers rumor swirling

Giants, Madison Bumgarner's camp talking with Dodgers rumor swirling

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sure they're the ones talking to agents in suites, discussing blockbuster trades, and spending millions on players, but at points of the MLB Winter Meetings, Giants executives are just like their fans. 

That was the case Tuesday night, when Gerrit Cole reportedly agreed a record contract and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic immediately reported that the Dodgers, a finalist for Cole, would turn their attention to Madison Bumgarner. Rosenthal's tweet instantly caught the attention of officials in the team's suite and some who were wandering the lobby. Those who had already left for dinner discussed the news after ordering their wine. 

The report startled the fan base. It did not shake the front office. You won't find many people who work for the team who are confident that Bumgarner will be pitching in San Francisco next season, but the Giants also do not believe he'll actually end up with the Dodgers. 

"A smart negotiation tactic," one source said, smiling. 

The Dodgers reportedly bid about $300 million on Cole and were in on Anthony Rendon, who reportedly got $245 million from the Angels, but they don't have a recent history of spending big on free agents. Cole and Rendon were special cases because they were at the very top of their respective markets. 

Bumgarner, per sources familiar with his thinking, is seeking a deal in excess of $100 million. It's unknown just how high the Giants would go and they're not thought to be at the forefront of discussions, but president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi met with Bumgarner's agents on Tuesday and said Wednesday night that the Giants are still engaged with Bumgarner's camp. 

Most in the organization are still preparing for Bumgarner's departure, and it's unlikely that the latest rumors will change that thinking. Zaidi isn't one to be bullied into a move by the possibility of a popular player signing with a rival. This will be a baseball decision for the Giants.

[RELATED: Why Giants hired 'player developments' coaches]

"We are kind of going through the process with all free agents based on where we are as an organization, what our direction is going to be, and there's a lot of rumors and a lot of innuendo and a lot of noise," Zaidi said Wednesday night when the latest rumor was brought up. "We just have to go based on what we know and the conversations that we're having."

MLB rumors: Giants bringing in Oracle Park fences, but only slightly

MLB rumors: Giants bringing in Oracle Park fences, but only slightly

The Giants promised there would be changes to the dimensions of Oracle Park, and they evidently have lived up to their word.

The fences are coming in -- but not by a ton.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Hank Schulman, San Francisco reportedly has marginally shortened the distance to all fields.

What about Triples Alley, you ask? Surely there must be more drastic changes to that area of Oracle Park, right?

Not really.

Six feet doesn't sound like a lot, but then again, Brandon Belt might have doubled his home-run total from last season under those dimensions. The Giants are removing the bullpen mounds from the first and third-base sidelines, and they are expected to be relocated to the extra space now created in the outfield.

[RELATED: Giants announce eight additions to Kapler's coaching staff]

So, it appears Oracle Park generally will maintain the same character, but likely will allow for more offense. Given the trouble the Giants have had in attracting free-agent hitters, perhaps the shortened dimensions will somewhat detract from its identity as a pitcher's haven.