By Mike Steffanos
In November 2006, the Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jon Adkins from San Diego along with outfielder Ben Johnson in return for relievers Heath Bell and Royce Ring. Adkins had enjoyed modest success as a middle reliever for San Diego in 2006.
Jon Adkins was originally a ninth round pick of the Oakland A's in the 1998 draft after a successful college career at Oklahoma State. He was traded to the White Sox four years later for Ray Durham. After making a brief major league debut with the Sox as a 25-year-old in 2003, Adkins appeared in 50 games out of their bullpen the following season. The following season he failed to make the major league club, spending most of the season as a starter in Triple-A. After the White Sox failed to tender him a contract in December 2005, he latched on with San Diego the following spring and stayed in the majors all year.
Here are Jon Adkins' major league numbers since 2004:
|Year -Team||Games||Innings||Hits/9||K/9||BB/9||HR/9||ERA||AVG||vs. RH||vs. LH|
|2004 - CWS||50||62||10.9||6.4||2.9||1.9||4.65||.305||.288||.327|
|2005 - CWS||5||8.1||14.0||1.1||4.3||0.0||8.64||.351||.316||.389|
|2006 - SDP||55||54.1||9.1||5.0||3.3||0.5||3.98||.271||.259||.287|
The batting average against and strikeout-walk ratio isn't very impressive, which is why Adkins has had a fringy major league career. A lot of the improvement he enjoyed last season could be attributed to pitching in the National League but, interestingly enough, seemingly had nothing to do with pitching in one of the best pitcher's parks in baseball. His home/road splits were dramatically skewed towards pitching on the road:
|Jon Adkins 2006 Home/Road Splits|
Here are Adkins' splits from last year vs. right-handed and left-handed batters:
|Jon Adkins vs. RH/LH 2006|
Besides the improvement that could be expected when moving from the American League to the National League, Adkins made some nice improvement on cutting down the gopher balls and did a much better job against right-handers and lefties. Still, the numbers scream inning-eating middle reliever. At age 29, Adkins is most likely as good as he will ever be. He also ran into some difficulty later in the year. After lowering his ERA to 3.06 in late July, he pitched to a 5.68 ERA over his last 22 appearances of the season.
Adkins throws a fastball (68%), slider (26%) and an occasional changeup (6%). His fastball is his most effective pitch (.274 OPP AVG). The changeup got lit up to the tune of a .367 OPP AVG, which makes you wonder why he uses it at all.
The Mets have younger and more promising arms than Jon Adkins, but his previous experience might land him a job in the bullpen starting the season if those younger arms need more development time. If he has any minor league options left, he could conceivably wind up in New Orleans as insurance for the bullpen. In any case, he'll certainly be in the mix for a job this spring.
Note: This preview was updated 1/17/2007.
2007 Bullpen Previews:
Jon Adkins (This Article)
Chan Ho Park
Four Other Names for You
2007 Pitching Previews: Summing It All Up