Jo Adell — the Los Angeles Angels young outfielder — had been struggling at the plate in his second MLB stint. Heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Detroit Tigers, Adell was batting .234 with a .613 OPS. Because of that, Angels superstar Mike Trout — who remains on the mend with a calf injury but is with the team this road trip — gave him some much-needed advice.
It wasn’t long before Adell got to use that advice to perfection. In the top of the ninth, with the bases loaded and two outs in a 2-2 ballgame, Adell went to the dish. He took a slider away for a ball, then a sinking fastball inside for a strike. On the third pitch — a middle-cut sinking fastball — Adell unloaded, hitting the ball 416 feet for his first career grand slam.
After the game, Adell revealed what Trout told him before the game and how he used it in his game-winning at-bat, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“He pulled me aside and told me I’ve been having really good at-bats and spitting on the pitches I can’t handle but to stay on the fastball,” Adell said. “Never forget these guys have good fastballs, so stay on them, and don’t give up on them too early. Having that mindset today just helped me let loose. Something was in the zone hard, and I was ready to attack.”
Adell continued to describe the moment he knew it was gone, applauding Trout for giving him exactly what he needed to get to that point.
“It was electric,” Adell said. “I mean, I can’t even describe it. I kind of blacked out. When I hit it, I just turned and Trout was at the stairwell at the dugout. So I just looked over and just went crazy. The whole experience was great.”
Adell’s work is not finished, of course, but this type of moment can instill a world of confidence into a young player. Knowing that he can perform when the moment is the biggest will help him to find success in lower-leverage at-bats.
The Angels are banking on Adell to be a reliable power bat in the lineup, as he remains the perfect complement to Brandon Marsh and Mike Trout in the future of the outfield. When the 2022 season begins, that should be the three lining up, and Adell making strides like this make that future much easier to envision.
Trout motivated to return
There is still no exact timetable for when Trout will be ready for baseball, but there is no denying Trout’s motivation. He was seen working with the team during warm-ups prior to the game against the Tigers, playing catch and taking batting practice alongside his teammates.
The hope remains that he can return this season so that the Angels can get a good look at that Trout-Adell-Marsh outfield before entering the offseason.