Featured Photo: Jo Adell, OF, Angels (High A Inland Empire)
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Each week, Jared Wyllys digs into his notebook and shares some info on a prospect of his choice, then passes along some select entries from our 2018 Prospect Spotlight Library and 2018 Pro Scouting Report Library. This week, we get a closer look at recently promote Angels outfield prospect Jo Adell and the mindset he finds himself in as he adjusts to a higher level of competition in the California League.
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Prospect Focus: Jo Adell, OF, Angels (High A Inland Empire, California League)
Like all baseball players, at least the ones who succeed, Jo Adell knows the game is about constantly adjusting and often doing it quickly. Currently, he’s growing in his approach at the plate, especially in striving for better contact and in going to the opposite field.
He also believes that a hitter’s mentality should be aggressive, but Adell knows that there’s more to that than just hacking away.
“We’re in the box to do damage and not in the box to draw walks and that type of thing,” Adell told 2080 Baseball.
Though he might not be fond of drawing walks, the outfielder has just a 4.5 percent walk rate since being called up to the High A California League, Adell’s patience has been showing itself in other ways. A pretty heavy pull hitter from the right side, Adell was hitting to the opposite field 30 percent of the time when he was still in the Midwest League. That’s about a 7 percent change from what he had done in 2017.
“It’s really just staying on the pitch the entire way through, and in my case it’s easier for me to let the ball travel a little bit more and make a decision,” Adell said. “Making that decision a little bit later helps me make better contact.”
Adell said he feels like he is learning to punish the right side of the field, and that is giving him a better advantage at the plate.
“Sometimes you get mistakes that are middle-in, so being able to do that has really helped me out a lot,” Adell said.
He has gone back to pulling the ball more since his promotion, but gaining better familiarity with the pitchers he faces in his new league will likely help Adell reverse this trend. He said his call to join Inland Empire came after he had finished a game in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he then got on a bus to Visalia, California. He arrived at four in the morning and found himself in the lineup that night.
“Against a team you have never faced before, in a league you’ve never played in before,” Adell said.
He went 0 for 3 with a strikeout but collected three hits (two doubles and a home run) in his next two games.
Despite his initial adjustment period to High A ball, he has a .971 OPS and has already hit eight home runs. He saw quickly the difference from the Class A Midwest League.
“The stuff got a little bit better, guys compete in the zone a lot more, so the big thing for me has been to really realize what I’m looking for before I get in the box,” Adell said. “I understand that these guys compete in the zone. You’re probably going to get a strike, but is it your strike to hit, something that you can drive?”
That’s a quality approach not often seen in a 19-year-old who was playing high school baseball barely more than a year ago. The Angels took Adell in the first round out of Ballard High School in Louisville. If he keeps hitting at a well over .300 clip like he has thus far, his time in the farm system might be short. But Adell has amassed just over 400 professional at bats to this point and there is bound to come a time when he will be tested more than he has. And when that comes, he will have to show the kind of readiness to adjust and adapt quickly that has helped bring him this far. –Jared Wyllys
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