The basic statistics do not show just how much better Jo Adell has been in 2021 than he was in 2020. Yes, the young Los Angeles Angels power outfielder has improved his OPS by .225, but the .703 OPS he holds now still isn’t where he can be. His OBP also improved by .083, but it still sits below .300.
However, it only feels like a matter of time before the numbers start to reflect what everyone is seeing — that Adell is a completely different player this season. Perhaps the fielding numbers are the best place to look to show how much more comfortable and confident Adell is in 2021.
Adell had a .961 fielding percentage and minus-4 defensive runs saved in 2020. In 2021, with almost the exact same number of innings, he holds a 1.000 fielding percentage and plus-1 defensive runs saved.
Comfort is what it all came down to for the second-year Angel, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“Last year was kind of a scramble to get started and play the game,” Adell said. “I’m a guy that likes to have a routine, and I know the preparation it takes to get me ready. Not having that last year was tough.”
“There were times I felt uncomfortable in the big leagues, and I think it had to do with not having the energy level where I wanted it,” he said. “It’s crazy. I really enjoy the engagement of the fans. Even when they talk mess to me, I love it.”
The crazy and tumultuous 2020 season is part of the reason that the Angels did not almost immediately give up on Adell. Normally, a player with a .478 OPS over 38 games played does not see the Majors again for a very long time, but 2020 is the exception to all rules.
In 2021, Adell looks like a new player at the plate and in the field. He’s striking out less, swinging at better pitches, and not trying to swing for the fences every time. In short, he’s shown veteran poise, even as the numbers fail to match what he’s doing.
He still has plenty of room for improvement. His 5.7% walk rate is still staggeringly low, he hits far too many ground balls — 46.5% of the time — and still ranks as a slightly below-average hitter with an OPS+ of 90.
Adell needs this last stretch of games as much as anyone to show exactly what he can be in 2022, when the Angels will have real expectations to win.
Joe Maddon happy with Astros series loss
Managers are never ecstatic to see their team lose a series, but with the meaningful part of their season over, Joe Maddon is taking a different approach. In the final month, he has done a great job finding the positives out of every loss.
In their loss to the Astros, pitching was a real strong point — outside of Shohei Ohtani’s start — while the bats could stand to improve.