As the Los Angeles Angels begin to plan for next season, there is no doubt that Jo Adell is vital to 2022. After a dismal showing in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Adell has looked like a new player this season, even if the numbers aren’t quite where he would like them to be.
On Sunday against the Texas Rangers, Adell his two home runs, accounting for all three of the Angels’ RBIs. It brought his season numbers to .245/.297/.391, which is still less than ideal but certainly an improvement.
Perhaps the biggest sign of his changed approach at the plate is strikeouts. In 132 plate appearances last season, Adell struck out 55 times compared to seven walks. In a similar 118 plate appearances this year, he has the same number of walks — seven — but just 27 strikeouts.
Adell spoke specifically about his two-homer performance and why he feels different at the plate now than in 2020, according to J.P. Hoornstra of The O.C. Register:
“I think the approach of trying to figure out the best way to win has helped me,” Adell said. “Today I was able to get off two swings and do damage, but I would’ve been just as happy hitting a couple line drives and getting on base because I know my speed can play.”
Looking at things from a wider scope, Adell was able to differentiate exactly what his plan has been during at-bats this season.
“In my own head, dumber’s better,” Adell said. “The ball gets on you so quickly, you really don’t have a whole lot of time to develop too advanced of a plan mid-pitch. I go up, I see what a guy’s got and I say ‘hey, what pitches am I going to hit well’ and try to stick to that approach. Just be an athlete. Try to make contact, try to hit something forward, hard, and see what happens.”
A .688 OPS is likely not where Adell wants to be, but it’s drastically better than the .478 he had last season. At just 22 years old, Adell has so much time to grow as a player, and he’ll be able to do that alongside two of the best players in all of baseball in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Not to mention Anthony Rendon, who is best known for his patient approach at the plate.
Adell, Trout, and Brandon Marsh are almost locks to be the starting outfield on Opening Day 2022. Performances like Adell’s on Sunday help to solidify that.
Ohtani mashes 43rd home run
As players like Salvador Perez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. try to threaten Ohtani’s home run crown, he has managed to keep them at bay for the time being. On Saturday, Ohtani belted his 43rd home run of the season, taking it 426 feet and scoring three Angels runs in the process.