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."