Viewed as a future cornerstone of the Nationals rotation, Joan Adon finally earned his first career win last night.
After a decade of boasting arguably the top starting rotation in MLB, the Nationals are focused on rebuilding their previous strength, with Josiah Gray at the forefront. But he’s not the only 23-year-old starter in their rotation — being joined by the Nats’ number eight prospect Joan Adon, who beat out Paolo Espino and Josh Rogers for the fifth starter spot.
Entering the season many Nats fans were unfamiliar with the youngster — with Adon being overshadowed in the farm system by top pitching prospects Cade Cavalli, Cole Henry, and Jackson Rutledge. He flew under the radar and quickly rose through the minors last year, making his MLB debut on the last day of the season against Boston.
He held the Red Sox to two runs across 5 1/3 innings, with nine strikeouts. Despite his impressive debut, he received a no-decision as the Nats eventually went on to lose 7-5. With a taste of MLB experience in his mouth, Adon better knew what to expect and showed flashes through his first two starts this season.
Unfortunately, he had been unable to put everything together, going 0-2, with a 10.00 ERA and eight strikeouts, while walking seven and allowing three homers. At times, he was crisp with his location, but struggled to put players away and was repeatedly burnt as a result.
But last night against the Diamondbacks, Adon flourished and wasn’t overwhelmed when he would run into a jam. Most importantly, he was able to avoid the long ball, which resulted in him picking up his first career win.
He held Arizona scoreless across 6 1/3 innings, striking out five while walking two and giving up only two hits. This marked the longest start by any Nationals starter this year. Additionally, Adon is the only Nats starter to go 6+ innings.
Something to keep an eye on was that he was able to dominate the top of the Diamondbacks lineup, with their 1-4 hitters going a combined 0-12, with three strikeouts against him.
In his first two starts, Adon was unable to get himself out of jams, but last night early traffic on the base paths didn’t faze him. In the second inning, he allowed two runners to reach with one out, marking Arizona’s best scoring opportunity against him. A fielder’s choice and a ground out got him out of the jam and he never looked back.
Now it will be up to Adon to prove he can build upon last night’s gem and become more consistent on the mound.